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The Crisis Facing Indigenous Women and Children

A young Indigenous girl child from Paraguay, South America, freed from sexual slavery by police in Argentina.

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Haitian children are routinely enslaved in the Dominican Republic

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Atenco

Foto: Belinda Hernández

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Indigenous & Latina Women & Children's Human Rights News from the Americas 


 

 
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News and Events - English
Other News Archives: 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006  -  2007 - 2008

Noticias de Junio, 2009

June 2009 News



Added: June 30, 2009

Texas, USA, Mexico

Man handed 5 years in sex trafficking

A former registered nurse was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison for engaging in what was the first and so far only federal sex-trafficking case in San Antonio.

Brent Andrew Stephens, 41, who surrendered his nursing license amid the criminal case, pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to harbor aliens for financial gain and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion…

Stephens admitted that he and his business partner, Timothy Gereb, planned to use young Mexican women as escorts and in a massage parlor in May 2007.

The two paid Stephens' personal assistant, Maria de Jesus “Jessica” Ochoa; her sister, Consuelo Pilar Ochoa; and their mother, Isabel, to recruit and smuggle females from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to San Antonio.

The Ochoas smuggled three victims, including two minors, and took them to Stephens. The victims were given alcohol, threatened at gunpoint by Gereb and warned not to return to Mexico, court documents state…

The victims told agents that once they arrived in San Antonio, they were told they would have to work as prostitutes for five years to pay the $3,000 smuggling fees…

Gereb, 50, was sentenced earlier to 10 years in prison. Isabel Ochoa, 60, received time served. Consuelo Ochoa, 34, was sentenced to 18 months for the sex-trafficking case and 39 months for a separate drug case. Maria Ochoa, 32, got 12 months and one day and is now out of jail.

Guillermo Contreras

Express-New

June 25, 2009


Added: July 01, 2009

Florida, USA

Lee County at Forefront of Slavery Fight

"We're light years ahead of other communities," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Molloy, who's prosecuted 20 slavery and human trafficking cases throughout Southwest Florida over the past decade, freeing 50 victims. "Because of our united community efforts, we're in a place most areas aspire to."

Those efforts include a two-man team at the Lee County Sheriff's Office, a multi-agency task force and a new command center at Florida Gulf Coast University: The Esperanza Project.

"What's happening at FGCU is electric - just electric," Molloy said.

One of a scant handful of university-based human trafficking research centers in the country, it opened eight months ago with $100,000 in seed money from a federal anti-trafficking grant given to the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

The center's name means "hope" in Spanish. It's also the pseudonym of the 11-year-old girl whose enslavement in Cape Coral became a galvanizing force as Lee county's first high-profile victim.

In 2005, the girl was discovered in Cape Coral, pregnant and bleeding. Born in Guatemala, she was sold to a man who brought her here and forced her into sexual and domestic slavery. She was repeatedly raped and beaten during her two-year captivity. Molloy eventually sent her captors to federal prison.

Her case sparked a wave of questions and self-examination among law enforcement and residents alike.

In short order, the Sanibel chapter of Zonta International, a service group, made human trafficking its signature cause.

The U.S. Department of Justice awarded the Lee County Sheriff's Office a $450,000, three-year grant to combat human trafficking.

By the end of 2005, Molloy said authorities were working on more trafficking cases in Southwest Florida than many entire state sees in a year…

"(The U.S.) spends about about $23 million on this annually - that's not much at all,"... "Estimates are there are about 17,000 [new] foreign-born trafficking victims alone [each and every year] and 17,000 homicide victims, and yet we solve 70 percent of the homicides and 1 percent of trafficking cases." ...

The man in the No. 1 human trafficking job in Washington is Luis C. de Baca. The new ambassador-at-large to monitor and combat trafficking in persons at the State Department promises trafficking will be a priority of the new administration as well - especially, of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton...

Amy Bennett Williams

www.News-Press.com

June 28, 2009


Added: June 30, 2009

Mexico

Mexican Congressional Deputy Maricela Contreras speaks out about defects in trafficking law's regulations

Denuncian colusión de bandas y funcionarios para secuestrar migrantes  

México - La presidenta de la Comisión de Equidad y Género de la Cámara de Diputados, Maricela Contreras, denunció que bandas organizadas coludidas con autoridades cometen la mayoría de los secuestros contra migrantes en las zonas fronterizas.

Señaló que según el Informe Especial sobre los casos de secuestro contra migrantes se documentaron nueve mil 758 personas privadas de su libertad, y de ese total en nueve mil 194 casos el delito fue cometido por ese tipo de organizaciones criminales...

Congress Explores Allegations of Collusion Between Criminal Gangs and Government Officials to Kidnap Migrants

According to the Special Report, 9,758 persons were deprived of their liberty

In 9,194 cases, the offense was committed by criminal organizations

The president of the Commission on Equality and Gender of the Chamber of Deputies, Maricela Contreras has reported that Mexican authorities have colluded with organized gangs to commit the majority of kidnappings targeting migrants in border regions.

Deputy Contreras noted that a special report on cases of kidnappings against migrants documented the fact that 9,758 people had been deprived of their liberty, and that in 9,194 of these cases, organized crime was the perpetrator...

The report states that migrants who enter Mexico are subjected to extortion, robbery, kidnapping, illegal searches, beatings, chases, being thrown off of moving trains, rape, threats, psychological pressure and even murder.

Contreras pointed out that the assailants most often mentioned by victims are elements of the Federal Preventive Police, military personnel and agents of the National Institute for Migration.

Data reported by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) indicates that along the southern border of Mexico, 70 per cent of migrants are victims of violence. Some 60 percent of migrants suffer some form of sexual abuse, including rape.

The CEPAL report also emphasizes that the United States border with Mexico is also a very dangerous region, where women migrants become victims of sexual violence, forced prostitution, human trafficking and murder.

Deputy Contreras denounced these human rights violations and called upon Mexican society to not tolerate inefficiencies, incompetence and  complicity by govern-ment officials, behaviors that threaten the lives and integrity of thousands of men and women who cross the borders into Mexico...

Full English Translation

El Financiero Online

With information from Notimex / JOT

June 27, 2009

See also:

Mexico

20000 Migrants a Year Kidnapped in Mexico En Route to US

Some 20,000 of the 140,000 illegal migrants en route to the United States who travel through Mexico to find work and a better life are kidnapped each year and subjected to rape, torture and murder, crimes that usually go unpunished due to the corruption of the authorities, fear of reprisals and distrust of authorities, according to Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission.

Mexico City – More than 1,600 migrants, above all Central Americans en route to the United States to find work, are kidnapped monthly and subjected to humiliations that usually go unpunished due to the corruption of the authorities, Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission reported.

“The kidnapping of migrants has become a continuous practice of worrying dimensions, generally unpunished and with characteristics of extreme cruelty,” commission chairman Jose Luis Soberanes said Monday at the presentation of the report.

Between September 2008 and February 2009, the commission registered a total of 198 separate cases of mass kidnappings of migrants involving 9,758 victims...

EFE

June 17, 2009

Sitio Oficial de Maricela Contreras Julián - Maricela Contreras' official web site (In Spanish)

Maricela Contreras Julián en la página oficial de la Cámara de Diputados - Maricela Contreras' Congressional web site - In Spanish


Added: June 28, 2009

Mexico

Mexican Congressional Deputy Maricela Contreras, chairwoman of the national commission to combat trafficking, speaks out about defects in the federal regulations published by President Calderón that weaken the nation's first federal anti-trafficking law

Atorada, ley contra tráfico de personas

Señala diputada que Segob no incluyó fiscalía en el reglamento

La Comisión de Equidad y Género de la Cámara de Diputados lamentó que a pesar de que se han detectado redes de delincuencia organizada dedicadas a la trata de personas en el país, el programa nacional de combate contra este delito no podrá operar sino hasta 2011 debido a que no se ha instalado la comisión encargada de su elaboración y no cuenta con una partida presupuestal específica...

Mexico’s Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons is Stuck in the Mud

The Interior Department failed to include a role for the special prosecutor for trafficking's office in the law’s published regulations

The regulations as written will tie the hands of the anti-trafficking law’s enforcement provisions until 2011

The Commission on Equality and Gender of the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of Congress) regrets the fact that despite having identified organized crime networks involved in human trafficking in the country, the national program to combat this crime cannot begin operating until 2011. The [unexpected] delay is due to the fact that the commission responsible for standing-up these efforts does not yet have a line item in the federal budget, and therefore it has not been created.

Deputy Maricela Contreras of the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) and chairwoman of the anti-trafficking commission, noted that another failure of the Department of the Interior (SEGOB) in drafting the required federal regulations that will activate the 2008 anti-trafficking law is the fact that SEGOB did not create a role for the office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Trafficking (FEVIMTRA) [an office of the Attorney General of the Republic] as one of the institutions responsible for combating trafficking...

Contreras, as part of her analysis of the official anti-trafficking regulations published on February 27, 2009 in the Official Gazette, added that the targeting of organized crime is also absent from the regulations.

"This situation is serious, because the regulations do not recognize that the problem [of trafficking] originates with various forms of criminal organizations, from disorganized bands that are just starting up to the more highly structured trafficking networks and mafias," says Contreras...

The Joint Committee of Congress has made an appeal to President Calderón’s legal counsel requesting that the Executive open the official regulations for revision [to repair the many defects within]. Presidential deputy legal counsel Javier Sanchez Arriaga responded to Congress by stating that changing the regulations was a responsibility of the Interior Department (Segob). [And thus, nothing was ever done to improve the regulations - LL]

Full English Translation

Liliana Alcántara

El Universal

June 20 2009

See also:

The Joint Committee of the Mexican Senate and Lower House has voted unanimously to ask President Calderón to revise his federal regulations governing the nation’s first anti-trafficking law.

The current regulations have no minimum standards, nor do they integrate the work of key federal agencies

Mexico City – Mexico City congressional deputy Maricela Contreras, president of the Commission on Equality and Gender of the Chamber of Deputies, has declared that a re-writing of the published Federal Regulations that enable the 2008 Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons is urgently needed, given that there is an indifference and unwillingness on the part of the federal government to stop this crime wave, [of human trafficking - in defiance of the will of Congress].

...Contreras, who had called for the declaration, stated that "the published rules were delivered late [after a 9 month delay following the law’s passage, and after four warning to President Calderón from Congress -LL], they are 'plain,' and they contain omissions. The rules don’t provide any tools to combat or prevent trafficking, much less any provisions for the care of the victims, who are mostly girls and women. For these reasons, President Calderón should have the rules revised, because in their current state, they aren’t worth anything."

Full English Translation

CIMAC Noticias

May 22, 2009

See also:

¡Héroes!

Lea nuestra sección sobre la lucha de varios congresistas y defensoras de los derechos humanos para lograr obligar que el Presidente Felipe Calderón publica un reglamiento fuerte respladar a la nueva ley: Prevenir y Sancionar la Trata de Personas, de 2008, que hasta ahora es sigue siendo una ley sin fuerzas.

Read our special section about the brave work of advocates and congressional leaders in Mexico to break-through the barriers of impunity and achieve truly effective federal regulations that will enforce the original congress-ional intent of Mexico's 2008 Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons.

LibertadLatina

 

Added: June 28, 2009

Mexico, Canada

Pedophile ring suspect caught in Mexico

A Canadian suspected of heading a North American pedophilia ring has been arrested in Mexico in possession of four million photographs and videos of children shown naked or striking suggestive poses.

The suspect, Arthur Lelland Sayer, "was caught red-handed at his home in Tijuana, Baja California (close to the US border) with a large number of photos and videos that were stored on over a dozen hard drives", Mexico City's public prosecutor said in a statement on Thursday.

A Mexican police investigation is ongoing to dismantle a major child pornography network and to "find evidence that it is active in the three North American countries: Mexico, the United States and Canada."

The crime ring was discovered by the "cyber police" of Mexico's Public Safety Ministry, which arrested the Canadian on Sunday along with agents from FEVIMTRA, a special unit that combats human trafficking.

Agence France-Presse (AFP)June 27, 2009


Added: June 28, 2009

Cecilia Romero, head of Mexico's national immigration service, says that sex tourism and pedophile networks are "inevitable."

"El turismo sexual es inevitable" - Cecilia Romero del Instituto Nacional de Migración de México

Photo: El Universal

LibertadLatina Commentary

President Calderón, the Human Rights Crisis at Mexico's Southern Border is Unacceptable

Our current series of articles covering the human rights emergency facing women and girl migrants at Mexico's southern border responds directly to the recent comments of Cecilia Romero, head of Mexico's national immigration service (the National Institute for Migration - INM). Director Romero stated in a press interview with El Universal, a major Mexico City daily paper, that human trafficking is "inevitable", and that, "the existence of the smuggling of migrants, human trafficking, pedophile networks, and the kidnappings and violence that affect thousands of migrants are only "evils of mankind" that Mexico cannot eradicate.

We strongly disagree with Director Romero and others in the leadership of Mexico's National Action Party, who habitually dismiss critical women's rights issues, including the femicide murders in Ciudad Juarez, as being the inevitable, and 'normal' results of male human behavior.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The citizens of Mexico, Mexico's Congress and the international community need to hold the government of President Felipe Calderón accountable for his allowing unending mass gender atrocities to occur on Mexico's southern border with Guatemala and Belize.

In this hell-on-earth, an estimated 450 to 600 migrant women are sexually assaulted each day, according to the International Organization for Migration. Police response is almost non-existent. At times, police are complicit in this criminal violence.

Mexico's southern border is also the largest zone on earth for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), according to Save the Children.

As Father Luis Nieto states in the below article about Salvadoran mothers who must come to Mexico's border to grieve for their raped and murdered daughters, "We cannot keep quiet, we cannot be complicit in this."

We strongly agree with that sentiment. Silence is also violence.

The federal government of Mexico is not ignorant of this ongoing catastrophe. The United Nations, the International Organization for Migration, Save the Children, elements of the Catholic Church, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and many members of Congress have, for the last several years, demanded action to end these atrocities.

Although INM director Cecilia Romero promised in February of 2007 that she would "entirely eliminate this terrible situation," no visible action has been taken to do so as of June of 2009, 16 months after Romero made that promise.

With the current economic slowdown and the expansion of global criminal sex trafficking operations, the rapes, kidnappings and sexual  enslavement of innocent migrants on that border is increasing with no end in sight.

As the United States Congress prepares to send over $400 million dollars in largely military aid to Mexico as part of the Merida Initiative to combat the drug cartels, we insist that human rights conditions be placed on those and other U.S. foreign aid funds that are headed to Mexico.

Mexico must close down the mass rape,  kidnapping, murder and child sex trafficking gauntlet that exists with total impunity on its southern border.

We also want to see the estimated 4,000 mostly Mayan indigenous children kidnapped from this region and sold to brothels in Tokyo, and also the uncounted thousands of other indigenous child victims who have been sold to brothels in New York and Madrid rescued, repatriated and then truly cared for.

Do you need money, President Calderón, to get these things done? Or is a misogynist, 'socially conservative' ideology that is resurgent in Mexico, and that has as its strongest voice the PAN political party, the real problem here?

Esta barbarie no será perdonado por Dios!

This barbarity will not be pardoned by God!

If Mexico does not have control over this part of its own territory, or if, as appears to actually be the case, the PAN's socially conservative agenda won't allow it to defend innocent and vulnerable women and children in crisis, consistent with their apathetic reaction to the femicide murders in Ciudad Juarez, then perhaps an international force organized by the Organization of American States, or by the United Nations needs to step-up to the plate, offer to help Mexico, and take control of the situation.

This crisis in Mexico is the best example in the Americas of why a new Global Plan of Action, as proposed by Ecuadorian Minister of Justice and Human Rights (Attorney General) Néstor Arbito Chica and diplomats gathered at the United Nations on May 13, 2009, is needed to get around this impasse.

Somehow, the fact that the government of Mexico is a signatory to the Palermo Protocol, and the fact that Mexico passed its 2009 U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report evaluation with a relatively positive Level 2 Rating (as we also acknowledge State's strong critique of corruption in Mexico), misses the point.

New and out-of-the box strategies are needed to oblige Mexico to fulfill its international obligations to end this mass gender atrocity once and for all.

It is not an impossible task.

The status quo today is... unacceptable!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 28, 2009


Added: June 28, 2009

Mexico

Salvadoran mothers gather to pray and leave offerings and crosses for their family members who were abused, kidnapped and murdered in the 'mugging and rape guantlet' at Mexico's southern border region known as 'La Arrocera' - the Rice Cooker.

Madres salvadoreñas depositan ofrendas en "La Arrocera"

El 80 porciento de los abusos cometidos contra los inmigrantes se cometen en esta zona de Huixtla, Chiapas

Huixtla, Chiapas - Los parientes de indocumentados fallecidos y desaparecidos visitaron "La Arrocera" , un pequeño tramo de escasos cuatro kilómetros que los indocumentados utilizan para evadir la caseta migratoria El hueyate, en Huixtla...

Salvadoran mothers leave offerings for their murdered children at "The Rice Cooker"

80 percent of abuses against migrants occur in this area near the city of Huixtla, Chiapas

Huixtla, Chiapas - relatives of deceased and missing undocumented migrants visited "La Arrocera," a four kilometer long rural trail that north-bound Central and South American migrants use to bypass the Hueyate immigration station in the city of Huixtla, Chiapas.

Under strict security arrangements and with the support of Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), members of the Committee of Families of Deceased and Missing Migrants toured the area of "the Rice Cooker" near Huixtla, a municipality in the state of Chiapas, where dozens of men and women have been assaulted, raped and murdered.

"The Rice Cooker" is a [rural] migrant trail where 80 percent of the assaults and homicides in the region are committed, according to testimony gathered by the Catholic Church and human rights organizations.

Even police will not enter this zone unless they have several officers armed with high-powered weapons.

Father Luis Angel Nieto prayed for eternal rest for all of those migrants who lost their lives here in their attempt to reach "the American Dream."

For the second time during the trip, Father Luis Nieto demanded that the Mexican authorities combat these crimes, that for several years have sewn pain and fear.

"We cannot keep quiet, we cannot be complicit in this," he said.

After prayer, the Salvadorans planted dozens of crosses in memory of those who lost their lives here and who were never identified.

During the emotional ceremony, the mothers and fathers could not contain their tears. The sadness and pain invaded their faces. Most knew the true meaning of "the Rice Cooker".

Juan de Dios Garcia Davish

Feb. 11, 2009

See also:

“Wall of Violence” on Mexico’s Southern Border

Calderon’s “two-faced” policy combines police, the military, gangs, and Los Zetas [ex-military, who are now 'hit men' for the drug cartels] to fulfill US mandate to deter Central American migration

...Wall of Violence

“Migrants don’t have rights in Mexico,” says Father Heyman Vazquez Medina, founder of El Hogar de la Misericordia. “It’s ok to beat them, extort money from them, rob them, sexually abuse them, murder them, and nothing happens.

Central American migrants’ legal security guarantees appear to be repeatedly and permanently violated by individuals and groups of people who rely on the protection, consent, tolerance, or acquiescence of the State and who have the power of weapons, money, police protection, corruption, and impunity. They have put a price on the head of each migrant.”

Migrant shelter staffers say those who abuse migrants operate with absolute impunity... [Father Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, the southern coordinator of the Catholic Church’s Human Mobility Mission Migrants program] recalls one case where a woman was kidnapped from one of the shelters he oversees. Solalinde remained in contact with her family throughout the ordeal. When she finally turned up in the United States, she said that the group that kidnapped her forced her to make several [pornographic movies]. When they finally brought her to the US-Mexico border, they made her family pay thousands of dollars in ransom. Solalinde offered to fly her back south and pay all of her expenses if she filed a complaint with the government. The woman refused, saying she never wanted to set foot in Mexico ever again.

Even when migrants or human rights organizations do file complaints, they almost never result in arrests or convictions. Solalinde says that almost every time he calls the police because migrants have identified and located their attackers, he can’t find a police force that will arrest the suspects. They all say they don’t have jurisdiction in immigration affairs...

 ...[Mercedes Osuna of La Semilla del Sur, a Chiapas-based organization that works primarily on indigenous issues] explains that [after crossing into Mexico, to avoid a migration station on the highway north], undocumented migrants must walk a roundabout route through an area called la Arrocera. La Arrocera is teeming with violent criminals who mug [and rape and kidnap] migrants as they pass through. Osuna spoke with some migrants who recently passed through la Arrocera. They told her that in la Arrocera they saw uniformed Chiapas state police in marked vehicles pick up and drop off people who mugged migrants. In la Arrocera, the muggers are painfully thorough: migrants complained to Osuna of being stripped searched. The assailants even checked their victims’ anuses and vaginas for hidden valuables.

Police don’t just offer rides to assailants; they often are the assailants...

**

The “Wall of Violence” is fierce: El Hogar de la Misericordia [a migrant shelter] estimates that 80% of all migrants who pass through Chiapas state have been assaulted during their travels. Approximately 30% of the women who come to El Hogar de la Misericordia report being sexually assaulted in la Arrocera, Chiapas, which is only one of many stops along the migrants’ route. Fermina Rodriguez of the Fray [Friar] Matias de Cordova Human Rights Center, which monitors human rights on Mexico’s southern border, says, “When you talk to women, they consider rape to be part of the price they pay to migrate.” ...

Kristen Bricker

My Word is My Weapon

Dec. 24, 2008


Added: June 27, 2009

Panama

A 'Genteleman's Club' in Panama

Photo: Panama Star

The Sexual Reality of the Country

Panama is not only seen as a tax haven, but also a sexual paradise for tourists where everything is available for the right price

Every country has a seedy side and Panama is no exception. Like many other places in the world the sex industry is thriving and attracting visitors.

For many tourists that is one of Panama’s attractions. The so called “gentlemen’s clubs” offer not only beautiful women willing to do anything for the right price, but also the promise of forbidden pleasures.

Technically speaking sexual tourism is a crime, however there are Internet sites where the would be traveler will not only have all the their traveling arrangement taken care of, but also they throw into the package a lovely companion of whatever sex and age depending on the client’s preference...

Prostitution is a big business and organized crime gangs regularly bring women from Colombia, the Dominican Republic and other countries to work in the sex industry.

They bring the girls under false pretences promising them work. In reality the human traffickers take away their passports and use them as prostitutes in nightclubs and bars.

They are scared and lonely, in a foreign country, with nowhere to run to. They are terrified of the human traders and too afraid to go to the police because they know they are going to be deported...

Perhaps the worst part of the sex industry is the commercial sexual exploitation of children through on-line pornography and actual prostitution.

The Public Ministry is currently investigating 40 cases involving commercial sexual exploitation of children and pornography...

Marijulia Pujol Lloyd

Panama Star

06-04-2009


Added: June 27, 2009

Mexico

Senators José Luis Máximo García Zalvidea (left) and Rubén Velázquez,

Senators Lázaro Mazón (left) and Francisco Javier Castellón Fonseca

PRD pide a INM explicación por red de lenocinio

Legisladores del PRD pidieron la comparecencia de Cecilia Romero Castillo, comisionada del Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM), por el caso de mujeres sin papeles de Centroamérica prostituidas...    

Legislators call upon the Joint Committee of Congress to call immigration (INM) director Cecilia Romero in to appear and explain apparent involvement of INM agents in Yucatán sex trafficking network

Congressional lawmakers from the Party of the Democratic Revolution [one of Mexico’s three main political parties] have called for Cecilia Romero Castillo, commissioner of the National Institute for Migration (INM) to appear before Congress to explain the situation of a case in which undocumented Central American women where prostituted in [the state of Yucatán, with the alleged involvement of immigration agents in criminal activity].

Senators José Luis Máximo García Zalvidea, Rubén Velázquez, Lázaro Mazón and Francisco Javier Castellón Fonseca presented an accord before the Standing [joint] Committee of Congress to "invite" to the commissioner of the INM to a meeting with legislative members of the First Committee.

PRD legislators want Romero to report on the performance of INM immigration officers in the areas of human rights, and especially in the state of Yucatán, “where a network dedicated to trafficking in persons and sexual exploitation of women" [involving INM officers] has been discovered.

The PRD congressional members have also asked the Standing Committee of Congress to request that the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence Against Women and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA) investigate and take action against agents in the INM’s Yucatán office for their involvement in human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

The Standing Committee was also asked to request from the National Commission on Human Rights that it open an investigation into the case, and assist the foreign national victims who have filed criminal complaints in the case.

Jorge Ramos and Ricardo Gomez

El Universal

Mexico City

June 17 2009


Added: June 27, 2009

Colombia

The 11 month police operation was code named for this well known Colombian novel

Así operaba la red de trata de personas más poderosa del país, desmantelada por la Policía  

Un grupo de 20 investigadores de la Policía de Infancia y Adolescencia de Medellín adelantó toda la investigación, que se inició en julio del año pasado. Una joven de 18 años denunció su caso. 

"Una amiga me dijo que le estaban ofreciendo un trabajo en Bogotá y que nos iban a pagar 300 o 400 mil pesos. Cuando nos presentamos nos subieron a un bus, pero para el Urabá. Luego nos recogieron en un taxi, nos quitaron los papeles y nos llevaron a una casa de citas. Allá un señor nos dijo que ya sabíamos a qué íbamos, hasta que la ley nos encontró como a los cinco días"...

Police dismantle the largest sex trafficking network discovered to date in Colombia

A group of 20 police investigators from the Children and Adolescents unit in the city of Medellin developed the entire investigation, which began in July of 2008. An 18-year-old youth originally reported to network to authorities.

"A friend told me that she had been offered a job in [the capital city of] Bogotá that would pay 300 to 400 pesos [between $140 and $185 US dollars]. When we reported for work we were told to board a bus, but it was bound for the city of Urabá. Then our employers picked us up in a taxi, they took our identification and took us to a brothel. There, a man told us that we knew what we were going to have to do. We were rescued by the police 5 days later.” ...

The authorities arrested 69 people, including 17 women. Police remain on the trail of another 28 suspects.

There were so many similar complaints from victims that investigators had concluded that they were not dealing with two or three people who induced women into prostitution, but a powerful network. One that trafficked women from Medellin not only to other cities in Antioquia department [state], but also to the capital, Bogota , and to Cucuta, Cartagena, Santa Marta and towns in the Magdalena Medio [the eastern-most region of Antioquia]. There are also indications that the network had contacts abroad to traffic women to Aruba and Venezuela...

"Send me another one like her and we will call the account even"

Police intercepted communications between members of the network. They were able to establish that eight people, which they called ‘The Commission,’ sold women for amounts ranging from 30,000 to a million Colombian pesos [between $14 and $467 US dollars].

One intercepted communicated from a customer of the network [a brothel owner] to a member of the ‘Commission stated: "You sent me a woman for 30,000 pesos, but she was very ugly. Send me another one like her and we’ll call the account even.” ...

After the operation, code named 'Candida Eréndida' [Innocent Eréndira, a novel by famed Colombian Nobel Literature Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez], police distributed leaflets in the city of Medellin to warn the public not to be taken in by these networks.

Police continue to investigate the network’s links abroad.

Full English Translation

www.eltiempo.com

June 26, 2009


Added: June 26, 2009

Mexico, Guatemala

Photo: CIMAC Noticias

Niñez y prostitución en la frontera sur, el costo de llegar a EU

Leticia, una vida entre ebrios, maras y policías

Segunda y última parte

Suchiate, Chiapas. - Leticia, como miles de púberes y jóvenes en el submundo de la explotación sexual infantil en México, sobrevive entre ebrios, en esta zona de 700 kilómetros de frontera con Guatemala y Belice.

Tenía 12 años cuando llegó sola a Chiapas por primera vez, con la ilusión de continuar viaje y cruzar la frontera estadounidense en busca de un mejor futuro. Ahora, en su sexto intento, trabaja en una cantina de la zona. Apenas ha cumplido 14 años de edad...

The Cost of Reaching the U.S.; Children and Prostitution at Mexico’s Southern Border

Leticia at age 14: a life drinking, gangs and police

Second and last part

Suchiate, Chiapas state - Leticia, like many pre-teen and teenage youth living in the underworld of child sexual exploitation in Mexico, survives between bouts of heavy drinking here along Mexico’s 700 kilometer border with Guatemala and Belize.

Leticia was 12-years-old when she came alone to Chiapas for the first time, with the illusion of being able to reach and then cross the U.S. border in search of a better future. Now, after her sixth attempt, she works in a cantina (bar) in the area. She has just turned 14...

Unlike many of her fellow teen prostitutes, Leticia did not have to sell her virginity, a ‘service’ that customers are charged between $2,000 and $3,500 for. "I wanted to marry my boyfriend, but he abandoned me when he learned that I was pregnant. I had an abortion at two months out of disappointment," said Leticia, expressing with her child’s eyes a false maturity that shows even more her clearly her helpless...

Leticia says that many customers not only want to have sex, but they also want to photograph her or record her on videotape or on cell phones in exchange for an additional amount of money...

...The Chiapas State’s Attorney has, during 2009, dismantled three gangs dedicated to the sexual exploitation of minors in the cities of Tapachula, Tuxtla Gutierrez and Rayón. At least 14 detainees facing charges for procuring, criminal association and assault, among other charges.

The children and underage youth freed from these gangs had been forced to work in sexual slavery for more than 12 hours each day. They had to bring their enslavers $2,000 during that period. In exchange, they were given one plate of rice and beans to eat. These facts are just the tip of an ominous iceberg...

Full English Translation

Manuel de la Cruz

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

June 25, 2009

LibertadLatina Commentary

We at LibertadLatina once again applaud the detailed, consistent and high quality reporting that CIMAC Noticias in Mexico has provided on the critical issues affecting women and girls in Mexico and across Latin America.

The global humanitarian organization Save the Children has identified Mexico's southern border with Guatemala and Belize as being the largest zone for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in the entire world. We have long recognized this fact, and accurate reporting in the Spanish language press, from CIMAC and also mainstream Mexican newspapers has provided a window into this nightmare.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) office in Tapachula, Chiapas has estimated that between 450 to 600 women and girl migrants who cross the border into southern Mexico are raped each and every day, with little or no law enforcement reaction in response.

In Tapachula, a prostitution 'mega-center' in Chiapas state, over 50% of the 20,000 females working in prostitution are underage girls and youth who have been forced by others or by economic necessity to accept a life of sexual exploitation. Some 50% of them are from the Mayan majority nation of Guatemala.

Chiapas, being a state located on this lawless border, is the only government entity in the world that is not actually a  nation to have established a direct relationship with the United Nations to address human trafficking. This region's crisis is indeed an emergency that requires the focused attention from the world community.

President Felipe Calderón of Mexico has been less than enthusiastic about fighting human trafficking, given his year-long effort to foot drag on efforts to publish effective regulations to enable the nation's first anti-trafficking law.

Now, Cecilia Romero, head of Mexico's immigration service (the National Institute for Migration - INM), has stated that human trafficking is "inevitable", and added that, "the existence of the smuggling of migrants, human trafficking, pedophile networks, and the kidnappings and violence that affect thousands of migrants are only "evils of mankind" that Mexico cannot eradicate.

Women and children's rights and immigrant rights groups in Mexico have been under-standably outraged by these comments. We join with them in denouncing such a hands-off and dismissive approach to confronting the mass gender atrocity of sexual exploitation and violence with impunity that is now taking place across Mexico.

We remain especially concerned that Cecilia Romero,  a former congressional deputy, senator and a long-time activist and official in the National Action Party (PAN) since 1982, is, through her statements about the 'inevitability' of sex trafficking, effectively justifying such criminal sexual exploitation and the lack of a Mexican federal response to that illegal enterprise. This policy position is consistent with many other statements and actions from the socially conservative PAN, that actively seek to diminish the independence and basic individual human rights of women.

It thus remains the responsibility of the international community to address these issues in collaboration, and in solidarity with the many elements of Mexican society who desire to be liberated from this Taliban-like mass movement to repress the basic humanity of women and girls.

Members of Congress, and activists in organizations such as the Teresa Ulloa's Mexico City based Latin America and Caribbean branch of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, as well as brave reporters like Lydia Cacho (who has been unjustly jailed and still faces death threats for her activism), and news agencies such as CIMAC Noticias (who's offices have been ransacked in the past for their reporting on sexual exploitation), all deserve the support of the international community, and they deserve our help.

We especially laud Teresa Ulloa and CIMAC Noticias for standing up to denounce the exploitation of indigenous women and girls, who are the primary target of many traffickers and rapists.

Let's give the advocates for women and girl's human rights in Mexico the help that they need now, while there is still time to avert an even more well organized war against women and girls than the one that is happening today!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 26/27, 2009

See also:

Mexico vows to improve migrant's treatment

Mexico City - Mexico's head of migration [Cecilia Romero Castillo] on Tuesday pledged to improve the agency's detention centers in response to criticism that Mexico fails to give Central American immigrants the same respect it demands for its own citizens in the United States....

The Mexican government has acknowledged that many officials are bribed by human smugglers. Migrants face abuse from corrupt police as well as
violent gangs who wait on the southern border to rob and assault them.

The government-funded National Human Rights Commission, U.N. human rights officials and other non-governmental organiza-tions say they have documented abuses.

The migration depart-ment's plan aims "to entirely eliminate this terrible situation," Romero told a news conference. [Yet as of June, 2009 they have failed to act on this promise - LL.]

Answering U.S. concerns, President Felipe Calderon also has promised to strengthen security on Mexico's southern border to stop the tide of illegal migrants - the majority of whom use Mexico as a way station to the United States...

In January [2007], Mexico detained more than 10,000 illegal migrants, and
expects that number to increase to 205,000 by the end of [2007],
according to a report by the migration department....

Lisa J. Adams

The Associated Press

Feb. 28, 2007


Added: June 25, 2009

Mexico, Guatemala

Photo: CIMAC Noticias

Leticia, de 14 años, sobrevive en la explotación sexual

24 mil niñas y niños prostituidos u obligados a la pornografía

Primera de dos partes

Suchiate, Chiapas - Leticia es una niña centroamericana de 14 años, sin documentos, a quien prostituyen en una cantina de este municipio fronterizo con Guatemala.

Han pasado casi dos años desde que dejó su país natal para migrar rumbo a Estados Unidos. A pesar de las duras condiciones en que vive para lograr su objetivo, no deja de intentarlo. Sabe que la deportación es casi segura, según sus propias palabras, pero ni eso la detiene en su idea de cruzar la frontera, alternativa que encontró ante la miseria y el incierto futuro en su lugar de origen... 

Leticia, Age 14, Survives in Sexual Exploitation

24,000 boys and girls forced into prostitution or pornography across Mexico

First of two parts

Suchiate, Chiapas state – Leticia is a 14-year-old undocumented Central American girl who is being prostituted in a Cantina (bar) in this town on the Guatemalan border.

It has been almost two years since Leticia left her native country to migrate to the United States. Despite the harsh conditions she has had to live through in order to achieve that goal, she will not give up. She knows that her deportation from Mexico is almost certain, as she herself says. But she will not be detained in her effort to reach the U.S. border, seeking to find an alternative to the misery and uncertain future that she faced in her homeland.

Leticia’s situation is no different than that of  hundreds of children who have been trapped by this border region’s commercial sex networks, who have offered their victims “a way to make fast money.”

They are victims of exploitation of the international networks of traffickers who grab them either before or after they cross the border at the Suchiate River or along clandestine smuggling paths that exist all along the border with Guatemala. Advocacy organizations who fight on their behalf refer to them as “sex slaves...”

The director of the Movimiento Ciudadano de la Frontera Sur (Southern Frontier Citizen’s Movement), Juan José González, notes that the phenomenon of prostitution in the region has increased alarmingly. These are not isolated cases, he says.

On the streets, and in bars, clubs, schools and outside of shopping centers in cities such as Suchiate, Tapachula, Cacahoatán, Tuxtla Chico and Huixtla, it is common to find women [and girls] of different ages engaged in prostitution...

For now, while Leticia continues to be a victim of sexual exploitation, the director of Mexico’s National Institute for Migration (INM), Cecilia Romero, has recently told the newspaper El Universal that the existence of smuggling of migrants, human trafficking, pedophile networks, and the kidnappings and violence that affect thousands of migrants are only "evils of mankind" that Mexico cannot eradicate.

Full English Translation

Manuel de la Cruz

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

June 24, 2009


Added: June 24, 2009

The United States, Mexico

Joaquín Aguilar Méndez, right, a former altar boy, has sued the Rev. Nicolás Aguilar, shown in photo at left. (From a web site that takes an opposing position in the case of Nicolás Aguilar - in Spanish).

Arquidiócesis de Puebla y Los Ángeles toleran pederastia

México DF.- Integrantes de la Red de Sobrevivientes de Abusos por Sacerdotes (SNAP, por sus siglas en inglés) interpusieron una demanda contra las arquidiócesis de Los Ángeles, California, y de Tehuacán, Puebla, querella que involucra a los cardenales Roger Mahony y Norberto Rivera, respectivamente, informa la Agencia NotieSe.

El ciudadano, identificado como Juan Doe (“Juan Nadie”), abusado sexualmente en 1988 por el sacerdote mexicano Nicolás Aguilar, acusa a esas instancias eclesiales y al Departamento de Educación de California de negligencia en la protección a su persona, puesto que Aguilar trabajó como profesor después de ser transferido de Tehuacán a Los Ángeles por el entonces obispo local, Norberto Rivera...

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico City

June 23, 2009

Charges of cross-border church abuses continue

Mexico City - A victims’ group said Thursday that it was filing a new lawsuit in Los Angeles, California, against Mexican and U.S. church officials accused of sheltering a suspected pedophile priest.

The lawsuit accuses Mexico City Cardinal Norberto Rivera of conspiring with Roman Catholic officials in the United States to shelter Nicolas Aguilar, a Mexican priest wanted in California for 19 felony counts of committing lewd acts on a child.

This is the third lawsuit filed by the group, Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, against the Catholic Church for allegedly protecting Aguilar. Two previous lawsuits filed in Los Angeles against the Mexican cardinal by Mexican citizens were dismissed in 2007.

This time, however, the unnamed plaintiff is a U.S. citizen.

“In this case it was a North American boy molested in North American territory,” said Jose Bonilla, a lawyer for SNAP.

Bonilla said he was “practically 100 percent sure” that the plaintiff, identified only as John Doe, would have his day in court. “But it’s going to be a long process,” he said.

In addition to Cardinal Rivera, the lawsuit charges the archdiocese of Tehuacan in the Mexican state of Puebla, where Rivera worked at the time, the archdiocese of Los Angeles and the California Department of Education with failing to protect the plaintiff from Rev. Aguilar.

Foreign Correspondency

June 18, 2009


Added: June 24, 2009

Colombia

Stella Cardenas, director of Fundacion Renacer (the Rebirth Foundation)

Insuficientes, Nuevas Sanciones Sobre Turismo Sexual Y Pornografía Infantil En Colombia

Bogotá.- La muerte de Yesid Torres, de apenas 15 años, conmovió a los habitantes de Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, donde la explotación sexual va en aumento. El menor de edad falleció a consecuencia de una sobredosis de cocaína que consumió en el apartamento del italiano Paolo Pravisani, pederasta de 72 años,  quien lo había contratado para proveerle servicios sexuales, informó la agencia Semlac…

New Sanctions on Child Pornography and Sexual Tourism in Colombia are Insufficient

Bogota .- The death of Yesid Torres, a boy who had just turned 15, shocked the people of the city of Cartagena de Indias, where sexual exploitation is increasing. The youth died from an overdose of cocaine consumed in the apartment of Italian Paolo Pravisani, a 72 year old pedophile who had contracted Torres to provide sexual services.

In response to increasing levels of sexual exploitation, Colombian lawmakers passed a law on June 10, 2009 that applies new penalties, including a 20 year prison term for those who engage in producing child pornography. The law also makes child sex tourism a crime.

The legislation provides for prison sentences of 4 to 8 years for persons who promote child sex tourism, without the possibility of parole. The length of the sentence may be increased by half when the victim is under 12 years of age.

Stella Cardenas, director of Fundacion Renacer (the Rebirth Foundation), notes that although the penalty for promoting child sex tourism under the new law is higher than the 3 year sentence available under the old law, the length of sentence is still too low. She adds that the law fails to address cases of aggressors who sexually exploit youth between the ages of 14 and 18 who have consented to engage in [commercial] sex, often due to economic hardship.

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico city

June 23, 2009

Véase también:

Luz Stella Cardenas

Luz Stella es la directora y fundadora de la Fundación Renacer, una organización que trabaja con niños y niñas víctimas de explotación sexual y ha atendido a lo largo de su historia a más de quince mil niños de Bogotá, Cartagena y Barranquilla. Desde 1988, su propósito fundamental ha sido combatir la explotación sexual infantil y acompañar a las personas explotadas sexualmente en su recuperación y realización personal...

Somos Más

Feb. 08, 2006

See also:

About Stella Cárdenas

Stella Cárdenas is building new institutional protections against child prostitution and pornography in Colombia by persuading the government to extend the mandate of its ministry charged with protection of children, the Ministry of Family Welfare... Stella and her Fundación Renacer ("Rebirth Foundation") contributed substantially to the passage of Law 360. This law, passed in 1997, for the first time assigned penalties–fines or jail sentences–for anyone who draws children into prostitution...

Ashoka International

2001


Added: June 23, 2009

Mexico

Mexico's immigration commissioner Cecilia Romero

El turismo sexual es inevitable: INM

Para la comisionada del Instituto Nacional de Migración, Cecilia Romero, el turismo sexual, tráfico de personas, comercio de mujeres, redes de pederastia, plagio y violencia contra miles de migrantes son “males de la humanidad” que México no puede erradicar...

Mexico’s Immigration Chief: Sex Tourism is Inevitable

According to Cecilia Romero, the commissioner of Mexico’s National Migration Institute (immigration service), sex tourism, human trafficking, female commercial sex work, pedophile networks, and the kidnappings and violence that victimize thousands of migrants [crossing Mexico to get to the U.S.] are "evils of mankind" that Mexico cannot eradicate.

Even if such practices have triggered: 1) harsh reports [about Mexico] from the U.S. Department of State and Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH); 2) complaints by foreign victims about their forced prostitution and sex trafficking; and 3) complaints from  [undocumented] Cuban migrants who have been extorted for thousands of dollars in their quest to get to Florida, Romero concludes that all of these problems have existed since the origins of migration...

[Commenting on strong criticism of the INM and repeated calls for her resignation,] Romero argues that the National Migration Institute has implemented a 'purification' effort which has caused a number of problems to emerge into the public spotlight.

The immigration director noted that since her team arrived as part of President Felipe Calderón’s government, she has accomplished much, but she is also aware that those achievements will never be enough [to solve the problems that exist].

Romero said that the vast majority of complaints that have been submitted [about official corruption] originate from within the INM itself. So far about 300 immigration officers have been reprimanded or removed. "This shows that we are making progress, although I will never be satisfied in our war against organized crime."

Romero adds that when there is discussion about immigrants, the finger is always pointed at the INM. But, she says, the criminal networks have state police, corrections officers and also immigration agents on their payrolls. We are investigating and pursuing them. Romero insists that her agency is taking action to get to the bottom of the problem of corruption.

Jose Gerardo Mejia

El Universal

June 20 2009

LibertadLatina Commentary

We appreciate the fact that Cecilia Romero, the commissioner of Mexico’s National Migration Institute, is a rare federal agency director who is willing to be honest in expressing the Felipe Calderón Administration's lack of interest in treating the mass gender atrocity of adult and child sexual exploitation in that nation as a serious crisis requiring an urgent response.

According to the traditional beliefs of Roman feudalism that still prevail in Mexico, such behavior is, as Director Romero says, simply "inevitable."

The hidden follow-on to that statement is: "If it is inevitable, why do anything to fight it?"

So a nation like Mexico ends up doing only the minimum necessary to placate the U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons Office with the objective of receiving a reasonably good rating in the annual TIP report.

In other words, Romero is saying: Victims, don't hold your breath as you wait for help. That help is not forthcoming from President Calderón's federal government.

That is not a good enough answer!

Commissioner Romero's statement is consistent with the lack of action that the Mexican public sees from its federal government in regard to addressing modern human slavery and other forms of violence against women.

We are especially concerned that this policy position, stating that mass sexual violence and slavery is inevitable, is consistent with other positions taken on women's human rights issues by President Calderón's National Action Party (PAN), such as stating that the women who have been kidnapped, tortured, raped and murdered by the hundreds in Ciudad Juarez caused their own deaths because they wore immodest clothing and walked in bad parts of town.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 23/24, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

Analysis of the political actions and policies of Mexico's National Action Party (PAN) in regard to their detrimental impact on women's basic human rights


Added: June 23, 2009

Colombia

El turismo sexual aumenta cada día más en el país  

Bogotá - Las cifras sobre turismo sexual en Colombia son alarmantes. Vender el cuerpo a clientes que llegan de todas partes del mundo, se ha convertido en uno de los mejores negocios en el país, siendo Cali una de las primeras ciudades en la lista...

Sex tourism is increasing on a daily basis

Bogota - The figures on sexual tourism in Colombia are alarming. To sell your body to customers who arrive from all over the world has become one of the best businesses in the nation, with Cali being the city at the top of the list.

According to a report of the Rebirth Foundation (Foundation Renacer), in the past two years the phenomenon has grown 53% in Cali, the capital of Valle del Cauca department [state]. Minors form the majority of those involved in the business.

The most appealing magnets for foreign tourists who come to our nation are the bodies of girls between 12 and 14 years [who are sold to them in prostitution]. This business generates huge profits for the mafia. Although 202 cases have been documented during the past 24 months, these incidents have been reported neither to the police for minors nor to the SIJIN (the Judicial Investigations and Intelligence Service). 

elpaisvallenato.com

June 21, 2009

LibertadLatina Commentary

Colombia may indeed be a leader in efforts to combat modern human trafficking. In the U.S. State Department's 2009 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, Colombia received a 'Tier 1' rating, the highest possible, to reward their efforts against human trafficking.

Yet Colombia's government and certain social elements contribute to a large number of human rights abuses, especially those that victimize Afro-Colombians in Indigenous peoples, who face wanton murder, rape and displacement by the military and right wing paramilitary forces hell bent on stealing their land and conducting their own perverted version of 'social cleansing.' Leftist guerillas are not innocent either.

These abuses, including the forced conscription of underage girls and accompanying sexual abuse perpetrated by illegal armed groups on both sides of the conflict contribute to an environment where mass human trafficking is made possible.

With an estimated 70,000 victims of human trafficking being created annually, Colombia is right up there with Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Argentina as one of the major nations involved in the illegal trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation.

We recommend that an index of trafficking behavior in these nations that is separate from the annual TIP report be developed to assess the true story 'on the ground' in the nations of the Americas. Currently, the TIP rating system does not reflect the true intensity of the problem.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 23, 2009


Added: June 21, 2009

Colombia - The United States

María is keeping her identity hidden, for fear of reprisals.

Photo: Helda Martínez/IPS

Trafficking Victims’ Ordeal Never Over

Bogota - A mixture of rage, impotence and terror is evident behind the sadness in María’s eyes. It’s been five months since she escaped from her captors in the United States, where she was taken under a false job contract, and she still can’t shake off her fear…

According to the available data, some 70,000 people fall victim to human trafficking every year in Colombia, which ranks third in the number of victims in Latin America, behind the Dominican Republic and Brazil.

…Statistics only partially reflect the magnitude of the crime, because many of the victims refuse to go to the police for fear traffickers will carry out their threats, or that they will be shunned by their community, or simply because they don’t realize just how severely their rights have been violated…

…People do fall for the bogus offers because they are in dire need of an opportunity for a better life. That was what happened to María, a 40-year old woman originally from the central province of Tolima, who was living on the outskirts of Bogotá when she was captured by members of a trafficking mafia.

She admitted to IPS that she’s still scared her captors will find her or come after her kids…

She’s also filled with rage. In November 2008 she and her family carefully examined the work contract before she decided to accept a job as a domestic in the home of a wealthy Colombian family in the United States…

But everything changed when she arrived at her destination somewhere in the U.S. … They took away her passport and other documents, then forced her to work all day long, from 5 a.m. through midnight, with only half a day’s rest on Sundays, and drastically reduced her meals, feeding her a meager vegetable diet…

[A] woman from El Salvador told María that what her "employers" were doing was illegal, explained how to unblock the telephone, and gave her an emergency number to phone the police for help.

But the police merely forced her captors to give back her passport and admonished them for how they were treating her.

That night, María’s kidnappers scared her with all sorts of threats against her and her family back in Colombia. They warned her that if she didn’t sign a paper exonerating them from all responsibility, they would report her to the police and accuse her of several offences, and she would be thrown in jail for years.

She was finally able to sneak out of the house while her kidnappers thought she was sleeping, and was driven to a shelter for human trafficking victims by the Salvadoran woman and her husband.

"There I started to get better. I spoke several times with my children and the rest of my family, and I came to realize that there are many people in the same difficult situation as me. Two other Colombian women were there with me, and another four had left the day I arrived," she said…

Inter press Service (IPS)

June 10, 2009

LibertadLatina Commentary

Ten years ago a Colombian woman caught in an almost identical situation of domestic labor slavery approached a hair dresser, asking for help to escape her employer - a wealthy Colombian diplomatic family living in the Washington, DC region. I made good her escape, and that of a friend who worked for another diplomatic family from Colombia.

The victim's employer yelled and screamed at her, made her work under constant verbal threats from 6 am until midnight, forced her to cook, clean, mow the lawn and shovel the snow for a family of five living in a big house on a large piece of land, and forbade her to leave the house alone. Only during one of her 'supervised' visits to a local hair salon was she able to contact a sympathetic person willing to help. That person contacted me.

This woman still lives in fear of her employer, but has gotten married and has brought her daughter to the U.S.

Many middle and upper class women across Latin America employ domestic workers. A very large number of these employers act in a fashion that reflects extreme cruelty, and is consistent with the manner in which wealthy women in the Roman Empire treated enslaved women in their homes.

We see the results of this attitude in the Roman Empire through the example of the poorly fed and frail servant girls, barely given enough food to survive, whose well-preserved bodies have been found in the ruins of the houses of wealthy Romans who lived in the city of Pompeii.

Many wealthy and middle class women continue to treat their 'hired help' in the same slave-like fashion in one offshoot of the Roman Empire known as modern Latin America. You just have to watch a Mexican soap opera on a Spanish language TV network anywhere in the world to confirm that ugly fact.

As a millionaire Greek business owner once explained to me, the fact that Mediterranean cultures enslaved each other 'back and forth' for millennia lead directly to the fact that there is no remorse for slavery in Latin America. He told me that when he arrived in the U.S. years ago, his biggest surprise was that white Americans felt remorse for the past enslavement of African Americans.

That remorse does not exist in the Mediter-ranean region. By extension (and Spain is one of these Mediter-ranean cultures), remorse for slavery does no exist among the elites in Latin America.

So how can the world depend upon the judgment, and trust the actions of such elites to pass anti-trafficking laws and enforce them, when tolerance for labor and sexual exploitation was and is built into the very foundation of Latin American societies?

This is why a new Global Plan of Action against slavery, proposed by a number of United Nations member countries, is needed, because... given the existence of the U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons report or not, international legal instruments, and the threat of U.S. economic sanctions will not break through the Roman wall of impunity that enslaves Latin America's oppressed populations, and especially the poor, the indigenous and the African descendent, without engaging in out of the box thinking and action to end this crisis.

In other words, the modern anti-trafficking movement, and the actions of many international and U.S. bodies assume that all nations want to collaborate to end sex and labor  trafficking. That sentiment is true among some sectors of society in Latin America. But powerful economic and political forces thrive through the exploitation of the victims of modern human slavery, while ancient cultural and religious traditions justify such inhumanity.

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission recently announced that some 1,600 mostly Central American migrants traveling through Mexico to reach the U.S., mostly women and girls, are kidnapped each month into slavery. It is known that sexual slavery predominates in Mexico much more so than labor slavery. In the case of domestic servitude, involving tens of thousands of underage Indigenous girls in Mexico, sex and labor slavery, co-exist).

This is happening to the benefit of the elites and paid-off corrupt officials in Mexico, while at the same time the publication of serious federal regulations that are urgently required to enact the nation's first anti-trafficking law was intentionally delayed by President Felipe Calderón for 11 months. When the rules were finally published, after four stern warnings from Congress, they were watered down to make the law ineffective.

Many members of Mexico's Congress of the Republic have admonished President Calderón for not caring about the plight of trafficking victims.  Together with non-governmental organizations, these legislators have organized an effort to insist that President Calderón withdraw his current anti-trafficking regulations and allow them to be re-written to put the teeth back in them to reflect the original intent of Congress in passing the law. It is obvious that President Calderón finally published the regulations so that Mexico would receive a positive rating (Tier 2) in the 2009 U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report.

Meanwhile, 20,000 migrants, mostly women and children, are kidnapped into slavery in Mexico each year while corrupt and apathetic law enforce-ment and government officials not only don't lift a finger to help these victims, but, as the 2009 TIP report acknowledges, they are sometimes direct participants in these kidnappings.

In addition, 4,000 Indigenous Mexican children remain enslaved in prostitution in Japan, while neither Mexico nor Japan do anything to find and rescue them.

Eight year old Mexican girls have been reported as being trafficking "into the brothels of the basements of New York" both currently and since at least the mid 1990s, if not earlier.

Yet these realities are not reflected in the 2009 U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report, which was also true under the administration of former President George W. Bush.

The overall TIP report assessment of Mexico is accurate, but the nuances, detailing the intentional resistance by the Calderón administration against actually caring about and acting to defend trafficking victims and those at risk, is not reflected in the report.

The misogynist policies of the far right members of Calderón's National Action Party (PAN) are also not reflected in the 2009 TIP report. It is not in their best interest to clamp-down on modern human slavery, a position reflected in their efforts to foot-drag on building effective anti-trafficking efforts at the federal level.

Truth be told, Mexico's economy would be seriously 'harmed' if all forms of labor and sexual slavery ended. That does not justify extending the life of such exploitation for even one second.

We applaud Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Trafficking in Persons Office Director Louis C. De Baca, the first Latino head of the office, for the release of an expanded and well thought out Trafficking in Persons report, the first delivered by a Democratic administration.

But the case of Mexico, as well as the case of the major criminal enterprise that is the trafficking of mostly Afro-Latina women from the Dominican Republic to Argentina (while anti-trafficking analysis largely ignores this issue) are two areas that greatly concern us.

We look forward to seeing serious emphasis placed on addressing sex and labor trafficking in Latina America, especially where indigenous and African descendent populations are targeted, because in both types of slavery, these peoples comprise a very large segment of those who are at risk.

If this basic task of putting greater focus on the Latin American issue is accepted by the U.S. State Department, we should expect to see new initiatives in the Trafficking in Persons Office that go beyond the limited work that is being done today to address this emergency.

Latin America's exploding human trafficking crisis was virtually ignored during the past decade by the U.S. Government, except where foes of the U.S., including Cuba and Venezuela were concerned.

The real bad guys make their money in Mexico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Argentina. The Mexican trafficking mafias enslave 500,000 sex trafficking victims, according to Teresa Ulloa, director of the Latina American and Caribbean office of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Children. Yet the U.S. State Department declares, following the estimates developed by the United Nations funded International Labor Organization (ILO), that only 1.5 million sex slaves exist in the entire world.

So if both Teresa Ulloa and the ILO are to be believed, then Mexico has 1/3 of the world's sex slaves? Something is wrong with these numbers.

In addition, Save the Children has recognized that the southern Mexican border region is the largest area for the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the entire world. That fact is also missing from the 2009 TIP report.

We do not need another 8 years of obfuscation about the true and horrific magnitude of modern human slavery in Latin America.

We also do not need a diminished focus on this emergency because the forces that favor the legalization of prostitution are strongly represented in liberal Democratic circles. Their work is largely academic, and it does not account for the mass victimization of children and underage youth, especially in Latin America, who cannot possibly be seen as consenting, willing participants in the sex trade.

As well, we do not need to limit action against human trafficking to only a focus on further adoption of the Palermo Protocol, an approach which was defined during a gathering of diplomats at the United Nations on May 13, 2009 as being ineffective.

As we have stated before... We are encouraged by the brave efforts of United Nations diplomats and Ecuadorian Minister of Justice and Human Rights (Attorney General) Néstor Arbito Chica to promote a Global Plan of Action to get around the very clear fact that the Palermo Protocol, and regional efforts by the Organization of American States (OAS) are insufficient to successfully fight this aggressive criminal war against a whole generation of Latin American and especially Indigenous women and girls.

We look forward to seeing the United States take a leading role to step-up efforts to bring this crisis under control. We also look forward to seeing the U.S. State Department demonstrate leadership in addressing the hard issues in Latin America without seeing the rules changed behind closed doors in favor of quieting criticism of U.S. allies in the region, something that was quite blatant during the last U.S. Administration.

Those at risk, and those who are today enslaved in the region deserve our undivided attention and an honest approach to ending the condoned and officially sanctioned mass gender atrocity that is modern human slavery in Latin America.

The time of the Roman Empire is over!

Free my people now!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 21/22, 2009

See also:

En Japón, de 3 a 4 mil niñas mexicanas víctimas de ESCI

Afirma la experta Teresa Ulloa

Three to four thousand underage indigenous girls from the poor states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero and Mexico [state] have become victims of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in Japan.

Puebla city, in Puebla state - Teresa Ulloa, Latin America and Caribbean Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women (CATW) announced her estimates of the numbers of indigenous children sex trafficked to Japan, and explained that traffickers trick the victims using offers of thousands of dollars for their parents in exchange for  [obtaining permission] to take their daughters. The parents are told that their girls are going to the United States to work in fast food restaurant jobs.

Taking advantage of the condition of submission that Mexico's indigenous communities are forced to live in, the traffickers take their victims to Japan where they are prostituted and work as geishas, a role that Asian women no-longer want to play because today they have more decision-making power than in the past.

Ulloa said that before these victims from Japan are repatriated, the home conditions of these girls must be investigated to assure that they can be reintegrated without facing the risk of being sold or sexually exploited again.

Ulloa noted that in the year 2002 the CATW helped to repatriate two sisters, ages 8 and 10, who had been prostituted in a brothel in New York. They were subjected to exploitation again, 15 days later, because their family "had sold their daughters in exchange for two goats and two cases of beer."

During her interview with CIMAC Noticias, Ulloa declared: "the subject [of child protection] is not on the national agenda. Much attention is paid to drug trafficking, but the government hasn't even realized that the same drug trafficking networks are used for the [sex] trafficking of children, and that organized crime regards this activity to be one of their most important businesses." ...

Nadia Altamirano Díaz

CIMAC Noticias

Dec. 12, 2008

See also:

Mexico: Más de un millón de menores se prostituyen en el centro del país: especialista

Expert: More than one million minors are sexually exploited in Central Mexico

Tlaxcala city, in Tlaxcala state - Around 1.5 million people in the central region of Mexico are engaged in prostitution, and some 75% of them are between 12 and 13 years of age, reported Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean...

During an international seminar in the city of Tlaxcala, Ulloa noted that, due to the conditions of marginalization in which they live, at least 50 million women and children in Latin America are at risk of being recruited for sexual exploitation.

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 26, 2007


Added: June 22, 2009

The United States - Latin America

The US Human Trafficking Report 2009: Whatever makes you think it's political?

The USA sometimes tries to make out the "equal partners" thing with the rest of the Americas and sometimes it doesn't. You get The Hawaiian making some lip service to the greater cause at the moment, but when push comes to shove and the bureaucrats are let loose, those old habits of arrogance, selective memory based on friendships and high-handedness towards "the brown people down there" shine on through.

Today the US State Department's ninth annual "Trafficking in Persons Report" was published, and here's how the region stacks up in the eyes of TheWorldPoliceman.™

Level One (complies with all, we luvs ya): Colombia

Level Two (not up to scratch but we see you're making an effort, try a bit harder, boyz): Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay.

Level Three (hmmm..not so good, kiddies. We're watching you so don't do anything stupid): Argentina, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Rep Dom, Venezuela

Level Four (bad bad bad naughty naughty sanctions sanctions): Cuba

But the biggest guilty party on human trafficking is left off the list completely. The country where many labor and sex slaves are sent by their paymasters and blind eyes are turned. Go on....take a wild guess as to which one.

The Democratic Underground

June 16, 2009


Added: June 21, 2009

The Americas

2009 TIP Ratings
Tier 1
Tier 2
Tier 2 Watch List
Tier 3

2009 U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report - Nations of the Americas

A-C: Antigua and Barbuda (Tier 2), Argentina (Tier 2 Watch List), Bahamas (Tier 2), Barbados (Tier 2), Belize (Tier 2 Watch List), Bolivia (Tier 2), Brazil (Tier 2), Canada (Tier 1), Chile (Tier 2), Colombia (Tier 1), Costa Rica (Tier 2), Cuba (Tier 3)

D-K: Dominican Republic (Tier 2 Watch List), Ecuador (Tier 2), El Salvador (Tier 2), Guatemala (Tier 2 Watch List), Guyana (Tier 2 Watch List), Haiti (missing), Honduras (Tier 2), Jamaica (Tier 2)

L-P: Mexico (Tier 2), Nicaragua (Tier 2 Watch List), Panama (Tier 2), Paraguay (Tier 2), Peru (Tier 2)

Q-Z: ST. Vincent and the Grenadines (Tier 2 Watch List), Trinidad and Tobago (Tier 2), Uruguay (Tier 2), Venezuela (Tier 2 Watch List)

See also:

Letter from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Letter from Ambassador Luis C. de Baca

Introduction

Major Forms of Trafficking in Persons

The Three P's: Punishment, Protection, Prevention

Financial Crisis and Human Trafficking

Topics of Special Interest

Victims' Stories

Global Law Enforcement Data

Commendable Intiatives Around the World

2009 TIP Report Heroes

Tier Placements

Maps

U.S. Government Domestic Anti-Trafficking Efforts

U.S. Department of State Office of Trafficking in Persons

June 16, 2009


Added: June 20, 2009

Guatemala 

Justicia parece no llegar en casos de niñas víctimas de violencia

El sistema de justicia parece no ser efectivo en los casos de tres niñas asesinadas recientemente en San Lucas Sacatepéquez y de una menor violada en Sololá, ya que se han registrado señales de negligencia en las investigaciones y parcialidad en el estudio de las pruebas, denunció la Fundación Sobrevivientes...

Justice Appears Distant in Cases of Girl Victims of Violence

The non-governmental organization La Fundación Sobrevivientes (the Survivor’s Foundation) has denounced the fact that Guatemala’s justice system does not appear to be working effectively in two criminal cases: 1) that of three girls killed recently in San Lucas Sacatepequez; and 2) the case of a minor girl raped in the city of Sololá. The Foundation states that there have been indications of negligence and bias in the evaluation of the evidence in these cases.

In the first case, a 13-year-old girl was raped on July 8, 2008 in Sololá. Judge Frank Armando Martínez allowed the accused assailant, Martín Tambríz, to be freed despite conclusive evidence of his guilt. Forensic evidence had showed a positive DNA match tying Tambríz to the rape. The Foundation plans to appeal the acquittal.

Lawyers for the Survivor’s Foundation also expressed concern about the case of three girls, ages 7, 8 and 12, who were “butchered” on May 29, 2009 in the hamlet Chicamán in San Lucas Sacatepequez. It was ascertained that one of the victim’s was raped. Three men suspected in the crime have been detained. The Foundation emphasizes that there are signs of negligence in the investigation conducted by the District Attorney of Sacatepéquez, a fact that will not contribute to solving these crimes.

The Survivor’s Foundation has asked that the case be moved to the capital, Guatemala City to insure that the investigation and preparations for prosecution are able to be observed, ensuring that due process is respected in the case.

CERIGUA

June 19, 2009


Added: June 20, 2009

Guatemala

Juana Méndez, right, and her translator explain in Court how one of the two police-men who raped her told her after the attack: "Why are you complaining? I will put two bullets into you and throw you over an embankment."

From the documentary film on the Juana Méndez case (in Spanish on YouTube)

Guatemala.- Una indígena guatemalteca es la primera mujer maya que logra que encarcelen a un policía por haberla violado

Nebaj - La indígena guatemalteca Juana Méndez ha sido la primera mujer maya que abre un proceso judicial contra un policial por haberla violado y logra que sea condenado, según contó ella misma en una entrevista con Europa Press.

El gran índice de impunidad en delitos contra las mujeres, según han denunciado reiteradamente asociaciones feministas, se rompe así con este caso. A Méndez "le hicieron daño" y ella "no lo quiso dejarlo así, quiso decir la verdad".

Pese a las amenazas de muerte y a los consejos que personas de su entorno le reiteraban para que retirase del proceso contra el policía, ella decidió seguir adelante. "Qué pienso, que tiene que haber ley; si un hombre me hizo eso, tiene que pagarlo"...

An Indigenous Mayan Woman has Become the First Female in Guatemala's History to Achieve the Conviction and Imprisonment of a Police Officer for Having Raped Her in Custody

Nebaj - Juana Méndez has become the first Mayan woman [in this Mayan majority nation] to pursue legal proceedings against a policeman for the crime of rape resulting in a conviction and a prison sentence.

This case succeeded despite the high rate of impunity for crimes against women, an issue that has repeatedly been raised by feminists.  Méndez stated: "they did me harm" and she "did not want to leave it at that, I wanted to tell the truth."

Despite death threats and the repeated advice from people around her to withdraw the case against the policemen, she decided to go ahead. "What do I believe? I believe that the rule of law has to exist. If a man does that to you, he has to pay.” Juana Mendez said that with the full support of her husband, who had told his wife that he would not respond to this problem with domestic violence [a common reaction of the husbands of rape victims]…

Méndez’ struggle for justice caused her insomnia from fear, and she couldn’t eat. But she never retreated, saying, “I had to tell the truth.” "I told the judge that these policemen had raped me.” Her female friends told her that she should not pursue the case, because her husband would beat her. She replied to them: “I don’t care if my husband beats me. I am going to tell the truth.”

The one policeman who was tried has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. Asked whether she fears retaliation when the convicted rapist gets out of prison, Méndez said that "I am afraid that he will do something. But I don’t think that he will get out of prison."

Echoing the sentiment of many indigenous defense association leaders, Méndez denounced the situation of impunity that we live through in Guatemala, and above all, she protests the crimes that were committed during the 36-year armed conflict [that ended in 1996]. I regret that the victims and the murderers have to live together.

Francisco Otero

Europa Press

May 10, 2009

See also:

New film about Juana Mendez

Juana Mendez will be remembered in Guatemala as the first woman who succeeded in achieving a conviction against a serving police officer for mistreating her in custody.

During her detention at the police station in Nebaj she was raped and sexually assaulted by several officers, one of whom was finally brought to justice. The Institute of Comparative Studies in Penal Sciences, ICCPG from its initials in Spanish, and Project Counseling Services, have made a film about the case which you can see here, in three parts (in Spanish).

El Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales de Guatemala (ICCPG) fue el productor de una pelicula documental sobre el caso de Juana Méndez

From the film:

A study conducted in 2005 by the The Institute of Comparative Studies in Penal Sciences found that 75% of women arrested in Guatemala suffer sexual abuse at the hands of policemen while in custody.

Some 43% of these victims file complaints in regard to their abuse.

The answer of the Government, says the film, is: impunity.

Gabriela Barrios

Also about Juana Mendez:

Supervivientes del genocidio Maya se sienten "olvidados" y acusan al Gobierno de incumplir los acuerdos

Supervivientes del genocidio Maya, acaecido durante la guerra civil de Guatemala (1960-1996), acusaron al Gobierno de la nación de incumplir los acuerdos de paz de 1996 y denunciaron que "se sienten olvidados" por las autoridades del país centroamericano.

Survivors of the Mayan Genocide Feel "Forgotten" and Accuse Guatemala's Government of Having Ignored their Obligations Under the 1996 Peace Accords

Nebaj - Mayan survivors of the genocide, which took place during Guatemala's civil war (1960-1996), have accused the national government of violating the 1996 national peace agreements and they feel neglected by the authorities of the Central American country.

This is what Juana Méndez believes. She asserts that "we continue living in poverty because our people have not yet recovered from the crimes committed against us." “They have not acknowledged the fact that the victims need material, as well as psychological support, such as in the form of opening a museum so that the families [of the victims] can understand what happened.”

Méndez explained that in her case, she had to flee to the mountains to avoid being attacked by soldiers. She doesn’t remember any longer how how long she was in hiding, but she feels that she is “one more victim of the military violence,” which had a major impact on women. However, Méndez says that she appreciates the efforts made by non-governmental organizations to bring light upon the violence that Guatemalan women suffered in the flesh during the war.

Francisco Otero

Europa Press

May 09, 2009


Added: June 20, 2009

Colombia

Statement of Ms. Navanethem Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the 11th Human Rights Council

"In Latin America, I wish to reiterate that Colombia remains a situation of utmost concern. That country's 40-year-long armed conflict has resulted in enormous human, social, economic and political costs. Civilian lives, security and property continue to be targeted by all armed groups. Indigenous and Afro-Colombian are disproportionately affected. Sexual violence as a war tactic is directed against women and girls. Most victims are women heads of larger households, in their 40s, with limited education and few opportunities to work. The conflict continues to displace people. Antipersonnel mines, which the Government banned, but which are planted by guerrilla groups, keep exacting their toll on civilians.

I welcome the Government's invitation to a number of Special Procedures mandate holders, but also call upon it to act on their recommendations in an effective manner. The Government should take all the necessary steps to protect civilians, mitigate their suffering and address their need for justice."

United Nations Human Rights Council; United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Geneva, Switzerland

June 03, 2009


Added: June 20, 2009

Mexico 

2009 TIP Report: Summary of Evaluation of Mexico's Anti-trafficking Efforts

Mexico is a large source, transit, and destination country for persons trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Groups considered most vulnerable to human trafficking in Mexico include women and children, indigenous persons, and undocumented migrants. A significant number of Mexican women, girls, and boys are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation, lured by false job offers from poor rural regions to urban, border, and tourist areas…

Child sex tourism continues to grow in Mexico, especially in tourist areas such as Acapulco and Cancun, and northern border cities like Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez. Foreign child sex tourists arrive most often from the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. Organized criminal networks traffic Mexican women and girls into the United States for commercial sexual exploitation. Mexican men, women, and children are trafficked into the United States for forced labor, particularly in agriculture and industrial sweatshops.

The Government of Mexico does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so…

Prosecution

The Government of Mexico failed to improve on its limited anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts against offenders last year. No convictions or sentences of trafficking offenders were reported by federal, state, or local authorities… There are concerns over the new law’s effective implementation, particularly that victims must press charges against traffickers, otherwise they will not be considered trafficking victims and will not be provided with victim assistance.

NGOs and other observers continued to report that corruption among public officials, especially local law enforcement and immigration personnel, was a significant concern; some officials reportedly accepted or extorted bribes or sexual services, falsified identity documents, discouraged trafficking victims from reporting their crimes, or ignored child prostitution and other human trafficking activity in commercial sex sites. No convictions or sentences against corrupt officials were achieved last year…

…Last year Mexican authorities identified 55 trafficking victims within the country: 28 females and 27 males; trafficking allegations related both to commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor…

U.S. Department of State: 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report

June 16, 2009


Added: June 20, 2009

The Americas

Mailiana Morales Berrios - Costa Rican anti-trafficking activist

Fighting Human Trafficking a Critical Part of U.S. Foreign Policy

U.S. hopes to cultivate more public-private partnerships to fight slavery

Washington - The Obama administration views the fight against human trafficking, both at home and abroad, as a critical part of the U.S. foreign policy agenda, says Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

At a June 16 event at the State Department marking the release of the ninth annual Trafficking in Persons Report, Clinton emphasized the need for more public-private partnerships to fight the scourge of modern-day slavery.

“The criminal network that enslaves millions of people crosses borders and spans continents,” Clinton said, “so our response must do the same.”

“We are committed to working with all nations collaboratively,” the secretary said...
The secretary also made the announcement that the State Department will rank the United States in its report to be released next year, even though the U.S. Department of Justice releases an annual report focused exclusively on the trafficking problem as it exists inside the United States…

Ambassador Luis C. de Baca, director of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons... himself a federal prosecutor who has worked many trafficking cases, noted that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime recently released its own report on global human trafficking and found that two out of every five countries have yet to achieve a single conviction of a human trafficker. “Prosecutions can be a blunt tool, but they do matter” in deterring traffickers, he said.

Heroes Honored

In addition to a number of U.S. senators and House members, two anti-trafficking activists were present at the June 16 State Department event: Mariliana Morales Berrios of Costa Rica and Vera Lesko of Albania.

Yasmine Alotaibi

America.gov

June 16, 2009

Public Awareness a Major Weapon in Fighting Human Trafficking

Washington — Around the world, people desperate for employment often find themselves tricked by human traffickers. An estimated 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders each year. Millions more are trafficked within their own countries.

This problem does not go overlooked by everyone, as some everyday heroes from a variety of nations take steps to end modern-day slavery...

For example, Canadian Benjamin Perrin founded The Future Group, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) committed to fighting human trafficking and the child-sex trade. By bringing together a team from across Canada, The Future Group works with foreign governments, other NGOs and businesses to address human trafficking and other global issues such as HIV/AIDS…

Costa Rican Woman a Pioneer in Anti-Trafficking Programs

…Over the last year, the Costa Rican government has made progress in addressing human trafficking crimes and helping victims. The government recently launched prevention campaigns as well as training efforts for government and law enforcement officials. Also, the government has begun to provide more victim assistance, although prosecution of human traffickers remains lacking.

Before the government began such efforts, Mariliana Morales Berrios was already fighting to protect trafficking victims. In 1997, she created the Rahab Foundation to help victims and their families find a new life, keeping the program running despite limited resources. Although she and her staff frequently face threats and attacks, they continue to help trafficking victims escape from their captors. In fact, since its founding, the Rahab Foundation has helped more than 3,000 victims and also trained more than 5,000 government leaders, law enforcement officials and tourism workers on human trafficking issues...

For these efforts, Perrin and Morales are being recognized by the U.S. Department of State in its annual report on human trafficking…

Yasmine Alotaibi

America.gov

June 16, 2009


Added: June 20, 2009

Mexico

Child Sex Tourism Growing in Border Cities Like Juárez, Report Says

Child sex tourism continues to grow in Mexican northern border cities like Tijuana and Juárez, according to a U.S. State Department report.

"Foreign child sex tourists arrive most often from the United States, Canada, and Western Europe," the report said.

People from Mexico also are trafficked into the United States for commercial sexual exploitation. Besides the northern border cities, the report said Cancun and Acapulco were popular child sex tourism destinations.

Each year, as many as 20,000 children are sexually exploited in these urban centers, officials said.

"Mexican men, women, and children (also) are trafficked into the United States for forced labor, particularly in agriculture and industrial sweatshops," the report said.

The U.S. federal government said corruption and lax enforcement were to blame for few human-trafficking prosecutions in Mexico.

The U.S. State Department released "The 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report" on Tuesday, and on Wednesday Mexican authorities announced the arrest of a Mexican federal immigration official assigned to Mexico City's airport on suspicion of human-trafficking.

Last week authorities in Costa Rica said they were investigating the trafficking of its citizens in Mexico.

Diana Washington Valdez

El Paso Times

June 18, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Mexico

"IMPUNITY" - Women victims of Police Assault at Atenco Protest at FEVIMTRA offices

"Women are not the Spoils of War!"

Exigen atenquenses a fiscalía agilizar juicios contra policías

Habitantes de San Salvador Atenco, particularmente 11 de las 26 mujeres que denunciaron haber sido víctimas de violencia sexual, física y sicológica por policías los días 3 y 4 de mayo de 2006 en ese municipio mexiquense, exigieron a la Fiscalía Especializada en Delitos Violentos cometidos contra Mujeres y Trata de Personas (Fevimtra) que ya consigne la averiguación previa que abrió y ejercite acción penal contra todos los uniformados que participaron en los acontecimientos, con el propósito de que sean sancionados por acción u omisión…

Women Victims of Sexual Violence at 2006 Atenco Protest March Demand That Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes Against Women Expedite Proceedings Against Accused Policemen

Inhabitants of [the Mexico City suburb of] San Salvador Atenco, including 11 of the 26 women who reported being physically, psychologically and sexually abused by [male] police officers on May 3rd and 4th of 2006, have demanded that the [federal] Special Prosecutor's Office for Violent Crimes Committed Against Women, and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA) act upon the results of their preliminary investigation in the case, and bring the actors to justice for their actions and acts of omission.

During a demonstration in front of the offices of FEVIMTRA in Mexico City, the activists indicated that, "the Mexican authorities have once again demonstrated their inefficiency in prosecuting and punishing those responsible for the serious violations human rights that were committed in San Salvador Atenco. They were referring specifically to the fact that just recently, the only police officer to have been tried, convicted and sentenced for the assaults against women at Atenco was pardoned...

Full English Translation

Gustavo Castillo

La Jornada

June 17, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

Mexican Federal, State and Local Police Rape and Assault 26 Women Protesters in Atenco, Mexico - May 3/4, 2006


Added: June 19, 2009

Mexico

20000 Migrants a Year Kidnapped in Mexico En Route to US

Some 20,000 of the 140,000 illegal migrants en route to the United States via the Mexico border to find work and a better life are kidnapped each year and subjected to rape, torture and murder, crimes that usually go unpunished due to the corruption of the authorities, fear of reprisals and distrust of authorities, according to Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission.

Mexico City – More than 1,600 migrants, above all Central Americans en route to the United States to find work, are kidnapped monthly and subjected to humiliations that usually go unpunished due to the corruption of the authorities, Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission reported.

“The kidnapping of migrants has become a continuous practice of worrying dimensions, generally unpunished and with characteristics of extreme cruelty,” commission chairman Jose Luis Soberanes said Monday at the presentation of the report.

Between September 2008 and February 2009, the commission registered a total of 198 cases of mass kidnappings of migrants involving 9,758 people.

Motivated by the yearning to begin a new life in the United States, each year some 140,000 people cross Mexico’s southern border intending to traverse the country and then cross the U.S. border, according to official figures.

To achieve their dream, the migrants have to travel thousands of kilometers with hardly any money and trusting unknown people who promise to help them, but there exists a risk that they will be betrayed and wind up in the hands of people-trafficking networks.

Upon presenting its report on the kidnappings of migrants, the rights commission called attention to their “high vulnerability” and denounced the fact that the practice “is on the increase.”

The document prepared by the panel includes many shocking testimonials, like that of a Salvadoran woman who was locked up and raped numerous times during the 48 hours she was held.

Finally, the young woman was freed because her family, who lives in the United States, gave in to the threats of her abductors and paid part of the $4,500 they demanded as ransom.

“But my companion didn’t have anyone to help her and so they shot her and let her bleed to death in front of me to intimidate me,” the woman said...

The kidnappings are committed mainly by organized bands whose members remain unpunished for the crimes because their victims do not report them since they don’t know their rights, they are afraid of reprisals and don’t trust the Mexican authorities, which, according to the commission report, are complicit with the criminals in at least 1 percent of the cases.

Victims are usually kidnapped in groups along certain stretches of the railroad lines in southern Mexico, where migrants commonly hop on northbound freight trains.

The commission had to move Monday’s presentation of the report to a different office after receiving a bomb threat – which turned out to be false – at the original venue.

The threat, according to Soberanes, was a “message” from the “bands interested in having impunity continue” for their crimes.

EFE

June 17, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Guyana

Guyana will not prosecute people for trafficking in personss just to satisfy the US, says minister

Georgetown, Guyana - Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Priya Manickchand, has lashed out at the United States of America’s rating of Guyana for its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report by the US State Department which places Guyana on Tier 2 watch list.

“Guyana objects completely to being placed on the Tier 2 watch list...we do not believe that we have trafficking on the scale that should attract the attention of the US, the report is inaccurate in some of its assertions: it did not given us (government) credit for all that has been done,” she stated...

“We prosecute every person who can be prosecuted under the Act who would have committed acts of trafficking, what we do not have is a large number of convictions. We cannot dictate what the courts do, we do recognize that there are some weaknesses in the entire judicial system in terms of how long matters take to pass through the system and in that regard, the government is at present engaged in improving the entire justice system through the Justice Sector Reform Strategy,” she explained.

GINA / Caribbean Net News

June 18, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

United States

Human Trafficking Rises in Recession

This particularly gory testimony, used by the US State Department to highlight the severity and widespread nature of human trafficking, is one of many alarming personal accounts included in their 2009 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.

Time Magazine

June 18, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Jamaica

Jamaica cited for inadequate anti-human trafficking measures

Jamaica has again been ranked as a tier two country for human trafficking by the US State Department which has cited inadequate efforts to prosecute trafficking offenses and protect victims. In its ninth annual Trafficking in Persons Report released ...

RadioJamaica.com

June 18, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Costa Rica

Mejora en la lucha contra trata de personas

Costa Rica se supera en la lucha contra la trata de personas, según un informe del Departamento de Estado de los Estados Unidos.

Costa Rica has improved its standing in the 2009 U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report. (Translation to follow)

Telatica.com

June 17, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The United States

Alerta de que la -esclavitud moderna- está aumentando por la crisis

El Gobierno de EEUU amplió la lista de países con crecientes problemas de tráfico humano de 40 en 2008 a 52 este año, en que ha incluido a Nicaragua, Irak, Filipinas, Antillas Holandesas y los Emiratos Arabes Unidos.

U.S. Government: Modern slavery is increasing during the current economic crisis.

www.ABC.es

June 16, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Colombia

Autoridades desmantelan banda de trata de personas y detienen a 69 personas

En más de 60 allanamientos fueron detenidos 52 hombres y 17 mujeres de la red que solicitaba damas de entre 18 y 25 años de edad en avisos clasificados en los diarios y les ofrecía trabajo en bares y restaurantes y altos ingresos, para luego obligarlas a prostituirse.

Authorities in Colombia dismantle sex trafficking ring and free 69 women between the ages of 18 and 25. (Translation to follow)

http://web.presidencia.gov.co

June 16, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Canada

Penalties for sex trafficking in Canada lax - US report

Vancouver, British Columbia - A US report on human trafficking says Canada has the laws needed to prosecute human traffickers and sex tourists, but the penalties dished out by the courts are lax...

KBS Radio

June 16, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The Dominican Republic

Washington: people trafficking still occurs Dominican Republic

The State Department's annual report, first under president Barack Obama's Administration, extends the list of countries with increasing human trafficking problems, from 40 in 2008 to 52 this year, among them Nicaragua, Iraq, the Philippine ...

Dominican Today

June 16, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The Vatican

Pope Praises "Courageous Commitment" of Religious Against Human Trafficking

Pope Benedict has lauded the “courageous commitment in defense of human life” of religious sisters involved in helping victims of human trafficking. The Pope's praise was contained in a telegram sent Sister Louise Madore, President ...

Vatican Radio

June 15, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Latin America

Sub-Regional Operations Profile - Latin America

In Central America and Mexico, efforts to improve border security, guard against terrorism and counter human and drug trafficking have led to stricter controls on the movements of undocumented migrants. ...

UNHCR (press release)

June 15, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Utah, USA

Human trafficking underground in Utah communities

But even in Utah, human trafficking, one of the world's top three most profitable hidden industries, has reared its ugly head. Dewayne Hopkins, a 27-year-old Salt Lake City resident pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking ...

BYU Newsnet

June 15, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Georgia, USA

Sex-trafficking fight goes beyond streets

Teenage prostitutes, according to a mayor's report on child sex trafficking, had begun working within a few steps of the familiar inscription from Matthew on the church's wall: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you ...

Atlanta Journal Constitution

June 14, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Nevada, USA

March Calls For End To Child Sex Slavery

The group Shared Hope International partnered with Canyon Christian Church for the event, drawing attention to the disturbing crime of human trafficking. A candlelight vigil was also held after the march. ...

Fox5 KVVU

June 13, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Latin America

OAS Assistant Secretary General: “the Future of Inter-Americ ...

In terms of the challenges, Ramdin offered that “there are still pending bilateral tensions and outstanding disputes among member countries” and that many of the traditional issues such as drugs and arms trafficking, discrimination, food security ...

ISRIA

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The Vatican

Women religious organize conference to combat 'new form of slavery'

This morning at the Vatican's press office, organizers announced a forthcoming congress on the theme: “Female Religious in Network against Trafficking of Persons.” The congress will focus on fighting and preventing human trafficking...

Catholic News Agency

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The Vatican

Women's religious orders vow to extend anti-human trafficking programs

Vatican City – With the global financial crisis and the increased desperation of the poor, human trafficking appears to be on the increase and the International Union of Superiors General is committed to extending its networks to fight ...

Cindy Wooden

The Catholic Review

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The Vatican

Religious Sisters Speak Out Against Human Trafficking

Religious sisters say they will not remain silent about the horrors of human trafficking. Here in Rome this week, the International Union of Superior Generals of women religious and the International organization for migration ...

Vatican Radio

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Mexico

Tlaxcala Diary

Fair Haven’s Father Jim Manship blogged his recent trip to Mexico. His second entry follows.

…Part of the presentation at the Center of Human Rights in Tlaxcala included a discussion of increased exploitation of women and girls — a very dangerous topic, as there is a large quantity of money associated with the sex trade. Exposing the sex trade has led to death threats against members of the Center of Human Rights. Influences of “machismo” in the culture, that is to say the domination of women by men, feed the tacit approval of this exploitation. Corruption has caused authorities to look the other way. Because the traffickers are not preying supposedly on local women and girls, there exists the attitude “It’s OK” because the victims are not from the area…

Traveling through a small town in Tlaxcala that is the notorious center for those involved in the trafficking of women and girls for the sex trade, one can see huge houses being erected in the middle of very humble neighborhoods. Such ostentatious expenditures signal those who are benefiting from the misery and enslavement of young women and girls. The traffickers and their families enjoy luxury cars and one purportedly has even begun purchasing buses to start a “legitimate” transportation company.

Those directly and indirectly involved in the trafficking of these women and girls have found it quite lucrative. The “dirty money” is plentiful. And I dare say, with the major disruption of the other source of “dirty money,” the Mexican drug trade, the exploitation of the immigrant women and girls, will sadly continue to increase.

New Haven Independent

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Mexico

Trafficking law aims to protect Mexican minors

...More than 8,000 children... come to the United States alone each year; many are seeking safe haven from human rights abuses, domestic violence and trafficking. When they are caught, they are put in immigration proceedings to decide whether they can stay or must return home. More than half of these children, some of whom are remarkably young, must face these proceedings without the help of a lawyer or guardian. The U.S. government does not provide people in immigration proceedings — even children — with a lawyer, even though the government is represented by a lawyer. Children who have viable claims are often not able to present them and are sent home, where their well-being, even their lives, may be in danger...

The good news is that more vulnerable children will have access to free lawyers and other basic protections thanks to the passage of a law that for the first time requires that children’s well-being be considered foremost by officials who pick them up entering the United States. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 says that when children come here without documents and without a parent or legal guardian, officials are to act according to the best interests of the child — and not according to an archaic and outdated system that was never designed to handle children.

The law requires the government to facilitate the representation of children by pro bono attorneys in the private sector. This opens the door to innovative public/private partnerships at no cost to the government that will make a real difference in these children’s lives.

Now the law needs to be fully implemented and the government needs to do its part. It must institute procedures that give children a fair opportunity to share their experiences of abuse and trauma. Judges and lawyers must be trained so that they don’t inadvertently cause children more trauma. Imagine being a young teenager and having to tell lawyers and a judge who you have never met your story of being sold to traffickers...

Nogales International

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Canada

World Vision targets child trafficking

The World Vision report urges greater recognition and criminalization of all human trafficking activities, many of which it says are tolerated by communities, overlooked by authorities and even sanctioned by families...

Mississauga

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Costa Rica - Mexico

Rosa María Casanova Maya, using the Alias "Rosi", was detained by Mexican officials for heading the human trafficking ring and pimping.

Ticas Say They Were Duped Into Traveling To Mexico Then Forced ...

Following up on the actions of Mexican authorities, Costa Rican authorities quickly moved to open an investigation into an alleged human trafficking ring that young Costa Rican women duped into traveling to Mexico, in the hopes of earning big money ...

Inside Costa Rica

June 12, 2009


Added: June 18, 2009

United States

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's press conference presenting the 2009 Trafficking in Persons report

Cuban-American Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen speaks at 2009 TIP report release press conference

US State Department releases its 2009 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "Today, the State Department releases our annual report on trafficking in persons. It underscores the need to address the root causes of trafficking, including poverty, lax law enforcement, and the exploitation of women. The Trafficking Report is not an indictment of past failures, but a guide for future progress. ...With this report, we hope to shine the light brightly on the scope and scale of modern slavery so all governments can see where progress has been made and where more is needed..."

Video of Secretary Clinton's press conference presenting the 2009 TIP report

Full transcript of presenter's remarks

The 2009 US State Department Trafficking in Persons Report - Index

Opinion-editorial essay by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

U.S. Department of State

June 16, 2009

U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Office director ambassador Luis C. de Baca delivers press briefing on the 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report

[This year's TIP finds a 30% increase in countries listed in the 'Tier 2 Watch List']

"...The International Labor Organization issued a report, The Cost of Coercion, about six weeks or – excuse me, about a month ago, and in that report the ILO estimated about 12.3 million people being held in bondage worldwide, of whom they estimated about 1.5 million are for sexual slavery, sexual servitude, which is perhaps a little bit counterintuitive to what people have seen the modern slavery or the human trafficking problem as, historically. Certainly, press accounts, what you see in movies, what you see in mass culture, tends to define this as a problem of people being moved to prostitution, people perhaps being kidnapped into prostitution. Rather, what we see, what the UNODC has reported on in their trafficking report earlier this year, and what the ILO is reporting on, is the notion that people are being enslaved, whether it is for prostitution, whether it is in labor, agriculture, factories, fields, domestic service, that they are often entering into the relationship voluntarily and then becoming enslaved within that..."

"...At the end of the day, though, it’s not about administrative responses, it’s not about structural responses; it’s about the fact that this is a crime. It is one of the most serious crimes that is out there. The slavery and involuntary servitude that the traffickers hold their victims in is something that cannot simply be remedied by having different immigration structures, by having labor inspectors, by having different policies about various things. Rather, it can only be dealt with by investigating and prosecuting the people who dare to do this.

And so we certainly stand ready, not just abroad but also at home, for those countries who would like to engage, for those countries who are willing to do the same type of self-assessment that we did in the Attorney General’s report which was also released today, where we look at what are the strengths, what are the weaknesses of the United States Government’s response. For those countries who are willing to engage in that type of partnership, the trafficking office here at the State Department, the Justice Department and the rest of the U.S. Government stands ready to partner...

Video of TIP Office Director Luis C. de Baca's press briefing

U.S. Department of State

June 16, 2009


Added: June 17, 2009

Mexico

"My body is mine, and I decide."

Photo: CIMAC

Cifras evidencian atropello a derechos SyR de las mexicanas

Aunque discurso oficial asegura respetarlos

México DF - Sin rumbo ni congruencia, la administración de Felipe Calderón propone en el discurso respetar la libre decisión de las personas sobre el número y espaciamiento de sus hijas e hijos y dotarlas de los medios para que así sea, pero en la práctica criminaliza a las mujeres que se atreven a ejercer sus derechos sexuales y reproductivos, como interrumpir legalmente un embarazo (ILE) o usar métodos anticonceptivos que eviten la implantación del óvulo, como el dispositivo intrauterino (DIU)...

Although official discourse ensures respect, statistics show that individual reproductive rights are abused

Mexico City - Lacking a clear and consistent policy, Mexican president Felipe Calderón states in his public discourse that he respects the right of individuals to freely choose number and spacing of their children, and is willing to provide them with adequate means to do so. In practice, the Calderón administration criminalizes women who dare to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights by either choosing to have an abortion or by using the intrauterine device (IUD) as a form of birth control.

...[Thirteen]... states have criminalized the use of intrauterine device (IUD) and emergency anti-contraception as "for being considered to be methods of abortion, contrary to scientific evidence.

International agencies like the the United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA) and the Committee of Experts of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), among others, have insisted that a larger access to contraception will reduce the [high] levels of death during childbirth [especially in rural and indigenous areas]…

Despite the goal established in the PNP that the workers in health institutions be trained in the application of the NOM on family planning, and apply it in a strict sense, the reality is that these health workers put their moral beliefs, religious and ethical decisions first in their interactions with individual women.

This is according to Carlos Echarri, a researcher at El Colegio de Mexico. His research paper entitled Key Issues, Needs and Obstacles to Reproductive Health Care, addresses this issue.

The report states: "Through the institutionalization of the control of fertility by involving health institutions, staff have [actively] intervened to interfere with reproductive health decision that are completely private. Health center staff [impose their personal] values, norms and practices on the private topic of sexuality."

Extended translation

Lourdes Godinez Leal

June 16 09 (CIMAC)


Added: June 16, 2009

United States -

The World

Melanne Verveer - US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues

Remarks at Swearing-in Ceremony of the Honorable Melanne Verveer as Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues

Secretary Clinton: …Melanne is most famous for the unwavering passion she brings to her causes. And for the last 15 years, that cause has been women and girls; their rights, their opportunities, their central importance to the future of our world’s progress and prosperity.

The absolute commitment she has always shown to giving voice to the voiceless, and making sure that the stories of everyday heroes and heroines would be known to a broader audience. She helped to launch the Vital Voices Democracy Initiative more than a decade ago, and she nurtured it and helped it to grow into what it is today. In the past eight years, she turned a government program into a global NGO, and the results of that work are ones that I encounter everywhere I travel on behalf of the United States. And she particularly helped to lead our commitment to end the intolerable scourge, the global crime of human trafficking.

So I was pretty lucky that Melanne was willing to accept this nomination to be our first ever ambassador on behalf on the issues and the causes and the women and girls that she has worked for so many years. She’s exactly the kind of diplomat that we need in the 21st century to exercise what we call smart power. And I am so pleased that the President agreed with me that there wasn’t any other choice for this job…

Video of Melanne Verveer's swearing in ceremony

Hillary Rodham Clinton

US Secretary of State

June 12, 2009

See also:

Melanne Verveer on Human Trafficking

Verveer has called human trafficking, which disproportionately affects women, one of the most important women’s issues she will address. "We need to elevate the race against human trafficking to the Grand Prix level, with Formula One-quality vehicles, sponsors and fuel. We simply can't stay in the slow lane for another ten years," she said in a 2007 interview.

She has long been an advocate of protecting women from trafficking. While working in the Clinton White House, she heard stories of networks that took women from their homes and “sunk them into a nightmare.” These stories inspired her to push for the 2000 Trafficking in Persons Act, which demanded an annual report on the state of human trafficking around the world.

As ambassador, Verveer will work with the Department's Trafficking in Persons Office to address trafficking in three ways: prevention, protection, and prosecution, all of which must be worked on together to be successful.. She has also called on the U.S. to work more closely with NGOs, international-law organizations and the business community to address the underlying problems that give rise to trafficking, including lack of opportunity and worker exploitation.

WhoRunsGov.com

May, 2009

See also:

Guatemala

Rosa Lacan Petzey

Vital Voices: Rising Voices of Guatemala

At age eight Rosa Lacan Petzey left home to seek work to support her family. For eleven years she worked away from home for meager pay, living with surrogate mothers. Her 14 hour workday left no time to study or to play. She lost her chance to enjoy childhood. 

Rosa’s story is common in Guatemala, a country recovering from a 36-year civil war that claimed more than 100,000 lives and displaced over 1 million refugees. The devastation wrought by the conflict permeates Guatemalan society, especially for young indigenous rural women.

At age 22 Rosa defies all expectations - she is an educated, single woman in unwavering pursuit of a focused professional goal - advocacy for reproductive health. As part of a Population Council program, she works with girls under pressure to drop out of school. Recounting her job, Rosa tells stories of smart, ambitious girls unable to pay school tuition, who reluctantly decide to enter the sex trade to pay for their fees.

Rosa sees herself as a mentor for vulnerable young women, someone who can inform, counsel and empathize with them. “Parents say the girls need to marry, because they don’t have the means to keep them at home.” As someone who went to work and back to school, Rosa challenges parents to see the potential in their daughters that she saw in herself.

Vital Voices selected Rosa to attend Rising Voices: Unleashing Young Women’s Economic Potential, a collaboration between Vital Voices and the World Bank Group supported by the Nike Foundation...

Student Fellow Megan Abbot

Vital Voices

LibertadLatina Commentary:

We congratulate Melanne Verveer upon her swearing-in as US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. We look forward to seeing serious efforts to defeat human trafficking and slavery during the Obama Administration. As Ambassador Verveer stated in 2007: "We need to elevate the race against human trafficking to the Grand Prix level, with Formula One-quality vehicles, sponsors and fuel. We simply can't stay in the slow lane for another ten years,"

Agreed! Full speed ahead!!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 16, 2009


Added: June 15, 2009

Mexico

trabajo infantil

Child Labor

México: nueve años de incumplimiento con niñez trabajadora

Ni Plan Nacional ni definición de trabajos peligrosos

México DF - Hoy, Día Mundial contra el trabajo infantil, México cumple nueve años de haber adoptado el  Convenio 182 de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT), que responde a la necesidad de erradicar las peores formas de trabajo infantil, sin que haya adoptado, como se comprometió, un Plan Nacional de Acción y la determinación de los trabajos peligrosos para la infancia y su identificación geográfica.

Por ello, Jorge Hidalgo, de la organización Caminos Posibles, señala que en estos últimos nueve años de gobierno del Partido Acción Nacional (PAN), sólo se ha visto un retroceso de 15 ó 20 años en la problemática de trabajo infantil, porque no hay una política por favorecer los derechos de la infancia.

Mexico: Nine Years of Non-compliance with its Commitment to End Child Labor

Neither the Creation of a National Plan of Action nor the identification of dangerous jobs, both required by ILO Convention 182, have been carried out by Mexico

Mexico City- Today, on the World Day Against Child Labor, Mexico has passed its ninth anniversary since having adopted Convention 182 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), which addresses the need to eradicate the worst forms of child labor. However, Mexico has failed to fulfill its commitment to draft a National Action Plan and to define categories of hazardous work for children, and to map the locations there these types of work are carried out.

Therefore, Jorge Hidalgo, of the organization Caminos Posibles [Possible Paths], said that during the past nine years of government of the National Action Party [Partido Acción Nacional - PAN], has set back progress on eliminating child labor by 15 or 20 years, because they have no policy to promote children's rights.

Mexican children form part of the global statistics issued by the ILO showing that 100 million [underage] girls are working, or 46% of the total children working. Twenty percent of those girls are under 12 years old. It is estimated that 53% of them engage in dangerous forms of work...

The Mexican Context

Jorge Garcia Hidalgo noted that, according to official figures reported in 2007, 3,647,000 Mexican children engage in some occupation other than going to school. Of these, 67 percent are boys and 33 percent are girls. Some 67% are youth between the ages of 14 and 17.

The study indicates that the majority of children work in a family business with or without pay. Thirty eight percent of working children work in agriculture. Fifty two percent of them began working between the ages of 7 and 10.

According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), in 2005 there were 1,630,185 domestic workers. Ten percent were under age 18, although only youth between 14 and 17 were counted in the survey.

According to [the social services consulting firm] Thais Social Development, it is estimated that 68 percent of girls who work in Mexico are engaged in domestic service...

The ILO, in this Day, calls for policy responses to tackle the causes of child labor, paying attention to the situation of girls, as well as urgent measures to eradicate the worst forms of child labor and attention to the need for education and professional formation for adolescents.

Full English Translation

Narce Santibañez Alejandre

CIMAC Noticias

June 12, 2009


Added: June 14, 2009

Wisconsin, USA

International Labor Organization's Campaign "Give Girls a Chance"

World Day Against Child Labor: Mexican Foreign Ministry releases report detailing Mexican children traveling to US alone are looking for work

…The global community observes World Day Against Child Labor

Begun in 2002 by the International Labor Organization, this year's theme is "Give Girls a Chance -- End Child Labor."

According to ILO estimates, of the 218 million child laborers worldwide, 100 million are girls. More than half of those girls are exposed to hazardous work in a variety of sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, mining, domestic services and commercial sexual exploitation. In many cases, work performed by girls is hidden from the public eye, leaving the girls vulnerable to physical danger and abuse.

Girls are often forced to carry a double burden by contributing significantly to their own households' chores, including child care, as well as undertaking other employment outside of their homes.

…Recently, the Mexican Foreign Ministry compiled a report entitled 2008 Report of the Repatriation of Unaccompanied Minors. (In Spanish)

The report found that over 17,000 children from 0-17 were captured along the US-Mexico border by US authorities. The overwhelming reason that these children gave for coming to the United States was to work.

Some of the other major findings:

* 83 percent of the youth captured were boys, while 17 percent were girls.

* The main destination state for the children was California followed by Texas, Arizona, New York, Illinois and Florida.

* The majority of children were found to be between 12 and 17-years old…

* Of the children captured, 26 percent were indigenous mixteco.

This study by the Mexican government illustrates that there does exist a need by these children to work to help their families. Seeing that these are the ones who were caught, it stands to reason that many more escaped capture.

The more troubling thought is where are these other children and what are they doing?

One answer is certain -- they are in the United States.

Are they at the mercy of human traffickers and being prostituted out to satisfy the demented needs of a sick demographic? Probably.

Are they being forced to work in slave-like conditions with no or very little pay and no freedom? Most likely?

Have they sacrificed their childhoods to help their families? Yes.

Are they lost forever between two countries? Hopefully, not.

Though most of these children do disappear into the underworld of this nation, they do come up for air sometimes. It's up to all of us to be cognizant and question why a young person would be working in a particular situation or under certain conditions or be with a questionable group of people…

Marisa Treviño - Blogger

LatinaLista.com

June 12, 2009


Added: June 14, 2009

The World / El Mundo

Select to magnify the image

Día mundial 2009: Demos una oportunidad a las niñas: Erradique-mos el trabajo infantil

AEl Día mundial contra el trabajo infantil se conmemorará el 12 de junio de 2009. Este año, el Día mundial marcará el décimo aniversario de la adopción del simbólico Convenio núm. 182 de la OIT que responde a la necesidad de erradicar las peores formas de trabajo infantil. A la vez que celebrará los progresos logrados en los últimos diez años, el Día mundial pondrá de relieve los retos que aún subsisten, haciendo hincapié en la explotación de las niñas en el trabajo infantil.

Se estima que hay en el mundo unos 100 millones de niñas víctimas del trabajo infantil. Muchas de ellas realizan trabajos similares a los que desempeñan los niños, pero también suelen sobrellevar dificultades adicionales y enfrentarse a diferentes peligros. Además, las niñas están también expuestas a algunas de las peores formas de trabajo infantil, habitualmente en situaciones de trabajo encubierto...

Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT)

World Day 2009: Give Girls a Chance: End Child Labor

The World Day Against Child Labor will be celebrated on 12 June 2009. The World Day this year marks the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the landmark ILO Convention No. 182, which addresses the need for action to tackle the worst forms of child labor. Whilst celebrating progress made during the past ten years, the World Day will highlight the continuing challenges, with a focus on exploitation of girls in child labor.

Around the world, an estimated 100 million girls are involved in child labor. Many of these girls undertake similar types of work as boys, but often also endure additional hardships and face extra risks. Moreover, girls are all too often exposed to some of the worst forms of child labor, often in hidden work situations.

International Labor Organization (ILO)

June 12, 2009


Added: June 14, 2009

Wisconsin, USA

Dr. Jefferson Calimlim Sr. and his wife, Dr.  Elnora Calimlim

Milwaukee couple each sentenced to six years in prison for forcing a woman to work as their domestic servant for 19 years

Milwaukee - A Brookfield, Wis., couple who kept a domestic servant in their home under conditions of servitude for nearly two decades was re-sentenced in federal court Tuesday to six years in prison. This sentence resulted from a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the FBI.

Jefferson Calimlim Sr. and his wife, Elnora, both medical doctors in Milwaukee, were each sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa, Eastern District of Wisconsin, to six years in prison for forcing a woman to work as their domestic servant and illegally harboring her for 19 years in their Brookfield home…

According to evidence presented at trial, Jefferson Calimlim Sr. and his wife recruited and brought the victim from the Philippines to the U.S. in 1985 when she was 19 years old. In September 2004, ICE and FBI agents removed the victim, then age 38, from the Calimlim's Brookfield residence through the execution of a federal search warrant. The victim testified that for 19 years she was hidden in the Calimlim's home, forbidden from going outside, and told that she would be arrested, imprisoned and deported if she were discovered. She was not allowed to socialize, communicate freely with the outside world, or leave the house unsupervised, and she was required to hide in her basement bedroom whenever non-family members were present in the house.

"Today's sentence is a testament to our solemn commitment to protect those who cannot protect themselves," said James Gibbons, acting special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago. "Many people are unaware that this form of modern day slavery still occurs in the United States. The victims can be domestic servants, sweat shop employees, sex workers or fruit pickers who are lured here by the promise of prosperity and forced to work as indentured servants. ICE is committed to giving them the help they need to come forward as we work to end human trafficking with vigorous enforcement and tough penalties..."

U.S. ICE

June 9, 2009


Added: June 14, 2009

United States

Officials Want a Change in Law to Shut Down Safe Houses Used in Human-Trafficking Schemes

Washington, DC - The Obama administration and Senator Chuck Schumer want to step up pressure on human-trafficking operations by taking away their safe houses.

Schumer announced plans Wednesday to propose legislation to allow federal agents to seize houses if they can prove the buildings were used by smugglers to shelter illegal immigrants temporarily.

Under current law, the home owner must be convicted of a smuggling-related offense before prosecutors can seize the safe house.

Officials say taking safe houses out of play could disrupt many smuggling operations. Federal law allows prosecutors to seize houses in drug cases, money laundering and child pornography, but not for human smuggling.

"This policy needs to be fixed right away," Schumer, D-N.Y., said after a meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. "It can put a serious dent in the operations of the Mexican cartels that deal in human trafficking..."

Eileen Sullivan

The Associated Proess

June 10, 2009


Added: June 12, 2009

Guatemala

Rigoberta Menchú Mum, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner and an indigenous political leader

Guatemala’s Neglected Story: Continued Disregard for Indigenous Autonomy

Indigenous peoples are still violently suppressed when they voice any opposition to foreign multi-national investment operations

Gaining strength, the country’s Indigenous movement is a much needed tool for securing equal rights

…Continued Repression and Impunity

In 1996, the Guatemalan government and the combined guerrilla forces functioning under the moniker, Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (UNRG), signed the Peace Accords that brought an end to more than 30 years of a bloody civil war. Guatemala’s internal conflict resulted in the death of close to 200,000 people, many of whom were indigenous campesinos caught in the crossfire of the warring factions’ violent ideologies. Many more were kidnapped, tortured and never heard from again. Claims that indigenous communities were easily manipulated and recruited by leftist guerrillas were used as excuses for the systematic ethnic cleansing by rightist death squads in what the Guatemalan Commission of Historical Clarification (set up by the UN as part of the Accord of Oslo ) deemed to be genocide. Those who participated in creating the infrastructure which indirectly led to the indiscriminate killings in indigenous communities did not only include Guatemalan authorities, but also foreign entities with roles to play in the country, such as the World Bank and the Inter–American Development Bank.

In the 1980s, civilian paramilitaries, sanctioned by the government, cleared the way for the construction of the World Bank-financed Chixoy Dam by eradicating the indigenous opposition it had attracted. This has become known as the Rio Negro massacre, a tragedy that left hundreds [of women and children raped and] dead…

The indigenous movement lay semi-dormant for a number of years, until the recent election of Bolivia’s Evo Morales, the first indigenous leader in Latin America, raised expectations among Guatemala’s underrepresented community. This prompted a 2006 statement by Rigoberta Menchú Mum, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner and an indigenous leader, to announce that she would pursue the presidency in the 2007 election.

Menchú’s presidential bid that year proved to be a fiasco, as she gained only about 3 percent of the vote. The meager figure can be attributed to the fact she was an ineffective campaigner, but also that indigenous people are still “largely outside the country’s political, economic, social, and cultural mainstream due to limited educational opportunities, widespread poverty, lack of awareness of their rights, and pervasive discrimination.” Another impediment was her inability to connect with indigenous communities. However, Menchú later returned to the political scene by announcing that she was collaborating in the creation of a new political party in Guatemala, WINAQ (meaning “people,” or “humanity” in Quichua), in an effort to gain the executive seat in 2012. After gathering the 17,000 affiliates needed to register as a legitimate political party, WINAQ was established in 2008, and its representatives stated that it had close to 40,000 members. According to Barbara Schieber, contributor to Guatemala Times, this was “one of the most important steps ever achieved by a Mayan political leader in Guatemala.”

WINAQ has made it a point not to claim that it is an exclusively indigenous party, which, if it had done so, would perhaps alienate much of the rest of the population. Gregorio Canil, spokesman for WINAQ, states that the party is constructed as a “political tool for the expression of the needs of the four villages in Guatemala: Maya, Ladino, Garifuna and Xinca...”

Today, indigenous leaders and local activists are routinely faced with threats of assassination and cases of intimidation that are met with inadequate investigations or total indifference by the authorities. Death squads have re-emerged, which are hired to survey indigenous lands scheduled for exploiting by foreign enterprises. The 1996 Peace Accords set the international community at ease by declaring an end to the civil war that had decimated the Central American country for over three decades, but it became obvious that such optimism was unwarranted and that the treaty did not bring an end to the violence…

…In Guatemala, hostility and racism towards indigenous groups is manifested by political exclusion. The unvoiced consensus among the powerful Europeanized minority remains that although the indigenous population is substantial, its political representation should remain marginalized…

Research Associate Billy Lemus

Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA)

June 9th, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

About the Sexual Exploitation with Impunity of Especially Indigenous Women and Children in Guatemala

...The Río Negro massacre occurred after an indigenous community at Río Negro refused to relocate and make way for the Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam, a massive government energy project supported by The World Bank. After 74 villagers were killed in February 1982, most of the men fled to the hills. Early on March 13, 1982, army soldiers and a civil patrol from the nearby village of Xococ arrived at Río Negro, and murdered 177 women and children. Many of the victims were raped and tortured...

See also:

The women of Rio Negro [the town of Black River], some of them pregnant, were dragged from their homes, forced to march to the top of a mountain, and there, along with their children, were raped, tortured and killed.

Ana, a survivor...

"The soldiers and (paramilitary civil defense) patrollers started grabbing the girls and raping us."

"Only two soldiers raped me because my grandmother was there to defend me. All the girls were raped."

In total, 177 women and children died that day [in 1982].

CERIGUA Weekly

Jennifer Harbury

DEC. 11, 1997


Added: June 12, 2009

Guatemala

Maquilas en Guatemala, discriminación y esclavitud para mujeres

Dos décadas de violación a las normas laborales y Derechos Humanos

Guatemala - En las maquilas está prohibido embarazarse, orinar más de dos veces al día e incluso tomar agua durante la jornada de trabajo. También esta vedado quejarse o faltar un solo día por enfermedad.

Estas razones son justificantes de despido para las guatemaltecas que laboran en la industria textilera de este país centroamericano, en establecimientos dirigidos, en su mayoría, por coreanos...

Maquila factories in Guatemala engage in labor slavery and sexist discrimination against women

Foreign-owned textile industry has two decades of violating labor and human rights standards

Guatemala - In the maquilas [low wage foreign-owned factories], women [who are the great majority of workers] are prohibited by their employers from getting pregnant, urinating more than twice a day, and to drink water during the workday. It is also forbidden to complain or miss even a single day because of illness.

Within Central America’s textile industry, which is run mostly by [South] Koreans, breaking these rules will get you fired.

These factories also practice age discrimination. If you are older than age 35, you are immediately rejected for employment. Successful applicants for work are typically between the ages of 16 and 30. Those who want to work must be willing to put up with inhumane conditions.

Women workers are packed into over-crowded, poorly ventilated production lines where as many as 350 people work in one area. The work areas often lack proper ventilation and access to potable water and sanitation.

At the end of each month, these workers receive a paycheck that is less than a living wage. Men earn more for doing the same work, and are not forced to work under such cruel conditions. According to Guatemala’s Ministry of Labor, women receive an average salary equivalent to $ 110 per month, while that of men is $ 125...

Moreover, women maquila workers are subjected to sexual harassment, according to the 2007 report, "We Only Ask that You Treat Us as Humans," developed by the Foundation for Peace and Democracy FUNPADEM.
 
A survey implemented between 2005 and 2006 by the FUNPADEM of 516 maquila workers in the capital and rural areas determined that persistent sexual harassment and abuse exists, but that the employees do not complain about it.

They reported that the manager of the factory routinely hires teenage girls, with whom he maintains a sexual relationship [as a condition of employment].

Many give in to the unwanted touching, indecent proposals and quid-pro-quo relationships because they need the work. Otherwise they would be fired, adds the report. The vast majority of these women have from one to five children, and are single mothers and heads of household. So they need to feed their families...

According to the National Survey of Commerce and Housing 2006, these women are part of a segment of six million people living in poverty, who live on one a dollar a day. One million of those live in extreme poverty.

This is not surprising in Guatemala, which has the second highest rate of female illiteracy in Latin America - 34.6 percent. The Presidential Secretariat for Women (SEPREM) reports that approximately half a million girls between seven and 14 years of age are not enrolled in primary school.

They, says Solis, are the ideal niche for the Koreans to seek to produce in their factories.

Velasquez, of the organization Atrahdom notes that these employees are treated so badly that they are not allowed to go the the bathroom to change their menstrual pads...

Alba Trejo

CIMAC / SEMlac

June 11, 2009


Added: June 11, 2009

The Indigenous Americas - Peru

The First Continental Summit of Indigenous Women

Moving Forward: The Fourth Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples in Puno, Peru

...The First Indigenous Women’s Summit started with a march from the... women’s plaza to the National Altiplano University where the summit was held...

The first panel was on Cosmology and Identity: Model of Development... The main themes were solidarity and reciprocity.

The second panel was on the Rights of Women: Violence and Racism... A key theme in this session was the importance of both Indigenous peoples and women in the construction of a plurinational state. ...Miguel Palacín, leader of the Coordinating Body of Andean Indigenous Organizations (CAOI) and lead organizer for the summit... emphasized the [traditional] Andean theme of gender equilibrium, with the importance of both men and women in building a sustainable society.

The third panel was on Women in the Construction of Power and Democracy... The presenters emphasized the importance of looking at power and democracy from the perspective of women, and the need for solidarity to achieve these goals.

Militarization of Social Spaces

One of the increasingly pressing themes in... Indigenous summits is the militarization of civil society. The [2007] Guatemalan summit had a heavy policy presence, allegedly justified by the high crime rate in that country. The Puno [Peru] summit was also surrounded by police, but without the accompanying justification of problems of criminal violence. It left many delegates feeling as if they were under constant political surveillance.

The opening women's march was followed by a large police contingent, with at least as many cops as marchers. Police also positioned themselves outside of the university gates along with a large riot control vehicle. As this was an entirely peaceful gathering, this large peace presence was hardly justified...

Marc Becker

June 09, 2009


Added: June 10, 2009

The Indigenous Americas - Peru

Photos from the First Summit of Indigenous Women and the Fourth Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples and Nationalities of Abya Yala in Puno, Peru. [Abya Yala is the term the Kuna people of Panama use to describe the Americas.]

Mark Becker

May-June , 2009

La I Cumbre Continental De Mujeres Indigenas Sesionando En El Marco Iv Cumbre Continetal De Los Pueblos Indigenas en Puno Perú

El día 27 de mayo nos hemos encontrado más de 2000 mujeres indígenas autoridades de todos los rincones del continente y del mundo con el objetivo de generar un espacio de encuentro de las mujeres indígenas en defensa y ejercicio de nuestros derechos manteniendo la unidad, equidad, igualdad y reciprocidad en las diferentes instancias internas y externas que garanticen el presente y el futuro y el fortalecimiento de la lucha de nuestros pueblos y la construcción del poder para el buen vivir.

Queremos denunciar a nivel nacional e internacional los siguientes hechos que se configuran para nosotros en una ALERTA para prevenir acciones que atenten contra los derechos de los pueblos indígenas y derechos humanos de las personas que participamos en dicho encuentro…

Summit of Indigenous Women Denounces Police harassment

National and International Press Release

The First Continental Summit Meeting Of Indigenous Women In The Fourth Continental Summit Of Indigenous Peoples in Puno, Peru

On May 27 we had gathered more than 2000 indigenous women authorities from every corner of the Americas and the world in order to generate a space for indigenous women to defend our rights and to pursuit the maintenance of our unity, equality and reciprocity... to ensure the present and the future, and to strengthen the struggles of our peoples to build a movement to construct a better life for our peoples.

We want to denounce at the national and international level the following actions that have violated the human rights of the indigenous peoples who participated in the Summit.

Background:

On May 26, 2009 we began arriving in the city of Puno, Peru.

International delegations from various parts of the world, including Indigenous authorities, peasant and social organizations, human rights NGOs and delegates from international agencies gathered to participate in the Fourth Summit of Indigenous Peoples.

The delegates were housed in various hotels in the city, as well as in schools.

We started our sessions on May 27 at the Central University in Puno.

Facts:

1. We had information that in Peru indigenous and social organizations were suffering from police and judicial harassment. Today, we the international delegations present for the Summit have experienced this harassment in the flesh, so we want to reveal this harsh reality to the world...

[The article continues by describing the heavy police and military presence sent to Puno (including light tanks) to monitor the Summit, and also the repeated and intensive police harassment that indigenous Summit delegates were subjected to during their stay in Puno. See full English translation.]

...We alerted national and international human rights bodies and organs of the State of Peru to take appropriate steps to stop any action that would violate the human and collective rights of the participants of the Summit of Indigenous Peoples. The responsibility lies with the Peruvian government and security agencies of the State for any act which endangers life and personal integrity and fundamental freedoms.

The First Summit of Indigenous Women overwhelmingly rejects the attitude of police and spying of any kind that leads to the loss of democracy and our rights. Even more, we repudiate any attempt to link the historical struggles of indigenous people with alleged terrorist groups, in order to justify repression against any of our peoples.

Full English Translation

First Summit of Indigenous Women
Puno, Peru May 28, 2009

See also:

Declaration of IV Continental Indigenous Summit Abya Yala

AbyaYalaNet.org

June 03, 2009


Added: June 9, 2009

Mexico

Mayan women in the town of Tenejapa, Chiapas state

Instalan Comité Regional contra la Trata de Personas en Chiapas

Tapachula, Chiapas - En Chiapas quedó instalado el Comité Regional contra la Trata de Personas, con lo que se convierte en uno de los estados en instituir un organismo de ese tipo.

De acuerdo con un comunicado del gobierno del estado, el objetivo es trabajar en medidas para la prevención en la trata de personas, así como proteger y dar asistencia a las víctimas del delito...

Committee Against Human Trafficking is Formed in Chiapas

Tapachula, Chiapas - Chiapas state has created its own Regional Committee Against Trafficking in Persons, joining several other Mexican states that have developed entities to address the issue.

According to a press release from the state government, the committee’s goal is to work on measures to prevent trafficking in persons and to protect and assist victims of crime.

It also seeks to coordinate efforts between federal, state and local governments, civil society and national and international organizations.

During a press conference, Mauricio Farah Gebara, representative of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), said that the states of Aguascalientes, Baja California, Campeche and Sonora have also set up state-level anti-trafficking committees.

Farah Gebara praised Chiapas state’s Law to Fight, Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons, and said that the state has a strong desire to eradicate this scourge.

Blanca Ruth Esponda Espinosa, general coordinator of the state’s Executive Cabinet added that their anti-trafficking committee was developed in collaboration with the United Nations, and added that Chiapas state was the only sub-national governmental body in the world to have developed a direct collaboration with the United Nations.

Esponda Espinosa emphasized that Chiapas state did not want to make mistakes in the creation of its strategies for assisting vulnerable populations, and therefore chose to work hand-in-hand with people who have the knowledge and experience in the field that the United Nations offers.

www.informador.com.mx

June 8, 2009

LibertadLatina

Commentary:

The world needs to focus its attention on fighting sex trafficking and exploitation in Mexico's Chiapas state, the largest center in the world for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC)

The government of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas has just announced the opening of their own state-level anti-trafficking office, developed in collaboration with the United nations.

We wish good luck and success to the members of this newly formed prevention-oriented committee. They will have their hands full.

Save the Children has identified Mexico's border region with Guatemala, and especially Chiapas state, as being the largest marketplace for the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) in the world.

As our map shows, this border region is the funnel through which all Central and South Americans seeking to migrate to the United States must pass. As a result, organized criminals and common rapists have set themselves up in Chiapas like trolls under a bridge, just waiting to ambush and victimize the tens of thousands of innocent migrants who cross into Mexico each year. Indigenous women and girls are subjected to these crimes at four times the rate experienced by other migrants.

According to the International Organization for Migration's Tapachula office, estimated 450 to 600 women and girls are sexually assaulted in this region each and every day as they cross the border into Mexico, with no police response whatsoever to this massive crime wave. Many of the victims are then kidnapped into sexual slavery, only to be sold to brothels in Tapachula, Mexico City, Tijuana, Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York and Madrid, among other destinations.

It is therefore not surprising that the United Nations has established its first anti-trafficking collaboration with the state government of a nation in Chiapas. The emergency in this state merits such focused attention.

While Mexico's President Felipe Calderón has delayed and watered down regulations to combat trafficking during the past year, we are glad to see that the Chiapas state government has developed a direct working relationship with the United Nations to combat this obscene scourge.

While this is a good start, international political pressure must be brought to bear on the federal government of Mexico to insist that: 1) significant resources be committed with sincerity to combat trafficking and violent crime against migrant women and the local, especially indigenous Mayan population; and 2) corrupt police, military and immigration agents under federal control stop sexually exploiting and extorting migrant women and girls in collaboration with the region's brutal sex trafficking mafias.

If those steps are taken honestly and obtain results (a tall order), perhaps Chiapas will finally loose its infamy as being the largest center for the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the entire world.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 6, 2009

See also:

Sex Trafficking in Central America

...Save the Children has identified the border region between Guatemala and Mexico as being the largest hot spot for the commercial sexual exploitation of children globally.  Ana Salvadó [executive director for Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean for Save the Children]: "It is the neck in the bottle, because many children attempt to migrate from Central America [and South America] to the United States, and they never get past [southern] Mexico, where they are sold by pimps and sometimes are returned to Central America."

A study by the international organization ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes)... reveals that over 21,000 Central Americans, with the majority being children, are prostituted in 1,552 bars and brothels in Tapachula, Mexico. 

Traffickers sell these children to Tapachula's pimps for $200 each.

Prostitution in cities like Tapachula operates openly.  Contralínea Magazine has documented the fact that traffickers work with corrupt federal and local officials in exchange for bribes or as direct participants in the criminal networks.  They do business in easily identified neighborhoods such as Las Huacas.  

According to ECPAT's report "Ending Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes," from Tapachula, where these children are sold, the victims are transported to the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Michoacán, Guerrero, Jalisco, Nayarit, Sinaloa and Mexico City.

More that 50% of these child victims are from [indigenous] Guatemala.  The rest are Salvadorans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans.  They range in age from eight to fourteen-years-old.

Contralinea Magazine

Oct. 22, 2007

See also:

Al salir, viajar por México hacia EU y regresar a casa

Migración de centroamericanas, el fenómeno de la violencia

Central American women face violence during migration

During the meeting... convened by the Latin American Association of Organizations for the Promotion of Development (ALOP), Ruby Escamilla [with the Tapachula, Mexico office of the International Organization for Migration] explained that six to eight out of every ten Central American women - some 30 to 40 percent of 1,500 migrants who cross Mexico's southern border daily, suffer some form of sexual violence...

[That amounts to 450 to 600 new victims of rape with impunity each day, with no law enforcement response whatsoever.]

Guadalupe Cruz Jaimes

CIMAC Noticias

Dec. 23, 2008

See also:

In 2006, the International Labor Organization conducted a survey of adult attitudes in Mexico, Central America and South America, where it is quite easy [for men] to engage in sexual relations with children.

Some 65% of respondents stated that they don't see any problem, and they don't feel any sort of conflict or fear in regard to having sex with boy and girl children, and "they don't feel that there is anything wrong with doing it."

...Mexico has been converted into a paradise for pimps and a living hell for thousands of Central American girl children like Jackeline Jirón Silva [kidnapped by sex traffickers at age 11], whose captors have prostituted her during the past 32 months. It is known that during half of that time, Jackeline has been held in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.

Ana Lilia Pérez

Revista Contralínea

Oct. 22, 2007

See also:

Central America: Activists infiltrate sex rings

Psychologist Viviana Retana... told IPS that the trafficking of children as sexual merchandise was a constant phenomenon in Central America and Mexico, as well as other countries in Latin America. ''The rings of pedophiles and procurers are very well organized, operate with advanced technology and handle large amounts of money,'' she explained. The authors reported that procurers in Mexico buy 12 to 15-year- old girls from Central America - mainly Salvadorans and Hondurans - for 100 to 200 dollars.

Inter Press Service (IPS

April 5, 2002

See also:

Trafficking Migrant Women and Minors at the Mexican Southern Border. A Exploration into an Unknown Reality. (Executive Summary - In English)

Rodolfo Casillas R.

The Organization of American Sates (OAS)

Feb., 2005

See also:

Traficking of Women, Adolescents and Children in Mexico: "An Exploratory Assessment in Tapachula, Chiapas" (In Spanish - Large PDF file - 269 pages)

Rodolfo Casillas R.

The Organization of American Sates (OAS)

2006

See also:

In Modern Bondage: Sex Trafficking in the Americas - Part 1 (PDF file - 296 pages)

Central America, the Caribbean and Brazil

Guatemala: The rate of trafficking into, within, and out of Guatemala is alarming. Strong border controls by Mexico, a high level of corruption, and a large number of migrants seeking opportunities to travel north foster conditions that allow for trafficking. In addition to the usual method of trafficking through false promises of work ending in forced prostitution, female migrants who may have arrived independently or with assistance of smugglers are coerced into prostitution. Immigration and police have increased arrests for smuggling, but identification of trafficking cases is not pursued.

International Human rights Law Institute

DePaul University School of Law

2002, 2005

See also:

LibertadLatina

The city of Tapachula, in Chiapas state near Mexico's border with Guatemala, is one of the largest and most lawless child sex trafficking markets in all of Latin America.

A 2007 study by the international organization ECPAT [End Child Prostitution and Trafficking]... revealed that over 21,000 Central Americans, mostly children, are prostituted in 1,552 bars and brothels in Tapachula.


Added: June 8, 2009

Navajo Nation

(The Navajo woman pictured is not a known victim related to this story.)

Sexual Assault Among the Navajo

Dear Editor, this letter is based on upon my experiences volunteering with San Juan Catholic Charities and assisting with homeless female sexually assaulted victims in San Juan County and McKinley County [New Mexico]...

Victims of sexual assault face many obstacles that hinder the process of healing and overcoming the trauma of being victimized. No wonder they have no faith in the justice system and feel that they are re-victimized by society...

...My investigation of sexual assault cases on the Navajo Reservation has led me to believe that we should re-educate our people. One suggestion is to have Rehabilitation and Treatment Programs include a lesson on the historical background of the multi-generational trauma that natives have endured at the hands of the majority culture. In addition, clients should reflect on their own family history and find proactive ways in dealing with their pain and suffering.

Another suggestion is to educate the public about the growing epidemic of violence against Native American women and make the public aware of the lack of funding that is widespread across the reservation, which leads to inadequate levels of services such as, shelters in need of repair, no counseling services for sexual assault victims, and the low priority status of most sexual assault cases within the justice system.

Another suggestion is to address and educate men about historical context of sexual assault among Native American women. In addition, Indian health care providers, school officials, tribal law officials, chapter house officials, and service providers need to create curriculum that includes what it means to be a masculine in ways that honor women, reflect healthy traditional community values, and how sexual violence has been condoned in rural communities...

Naomipine

Letter to the Editor

Indian Country Today

May 27, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

About the crisis of sexual exploitation facing indigenous women and children within the United States


Added: June 6, 2009

Mexico

Indigenous girls in Mexico - always at risk from sex traffickers and a government that does not care...

'Everybody knows who really runs Mexico'

Let's get to the question of who appears to be winning the war on illegal drugs right off the top, shall we?

Criminals, that's who.

They include the big honchos in the Mexican cartels (and their affiliates in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere) and politicians, business people, police, the army and other well-placed citizens who, under a veneer of respectability, empower the narco-empires.

"There's no doubt the cartels need them to stay in business," says Victor Clark Alfaro, an expert on the drug trade from San Diego State University. "Their war is invisible."

That makes them, for the most part, untouchable…

"I would say Mexico is a state with a parallel power in its drug cartels. It's not a narco state yet; we still have a government. But they have true power, beginning with the right to tax (protection money)," argues Clark." I would say we are in great danger (of becoming a narco-state)."

His bleak view was overwhelmingly echoed during a month-long investigation by the Toronto Star, that included about 60 interviews in Mexico City, Acapulco, Tijuana, San Diego, Vancouver and Toronto.

…Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington… says Calderon "probably deserves more credit than critics like myself have given him. The militarization of the drug war has been only moderately successful, but more importantly, he has shown the magnitude of the corruption. ... It's not anecdotal, it's systemic."

Carlos Osorio

The Toronto Star

June 5, 2009

LibertadLatina

Commentary

Corruption in Mexico and its impact on that nation's war against sexual exploitation and trafficking

The June 5, 2009 article by Carlos Osorio in the Toronto Star, "Everybody knows who really runs Mexico" - highlights one of the key roadblocks to combating sexual exploitation in the 'Aztec nation' as U.S. based Spanish-language TV network news refers to Mexico.

Many in the inter-national anti-trafficking movement, including professionals working in government,  inter-governmental organi-zations, academia, international aid groups, law enforce-ment agencies and non-governmental agencies focus a large portion of their efforts to combat modern human slavery on the advancement of international legal instruments - protocols and conventions, to reign-in the explosive growth in modern human slavery.

An assumption is made in professional circles that the international legal system will provide a framework that each nation can model national legislation on, the law in each country will be passed, law enforcement will then enforce these laws, and human slavery will be brought under control.

As our extensive news coverage of the crisis in Mexico illustrates, being a signatory to international human rights and anti-trafficking agreements does not automatically mean that the signatory nation is actually in agreement with the goal of ending modern human trafficking and related forms of sexual exploitation.

The Toronto Star article highlights the fact that narco-traffickers, through their use of criminal profits to fuel payoffs to corrupt government officials, effectively represent a shadow government that runs in parallel with the federal government of Mexico. This is not surprising, given that millions of Mexicans live in severe poverty and find the idea of working for a drug cartel to be a reasonable employment option.

The drug cartels are also Mexico's largest financiers of the sex trafficking industry. The cartels use their complex trafficking  transportation networks to ship guns, drugs, and yes, also 10-year-old Mayan girls, and many other Mexican and Central American-migrant kidnap victims destined to be sold into much-shortened and tortured lives as sex slaves in Los Angeles, Tokyo, New York, Amsterdam and Madrid.

The mass sexual slavery of women and children is condoned in Mexico in-part because these 'customs' have existed as a basic element of the 'cult' of machismo for hundreds of years, during which time the 'practice' has focused most intensively on the sexual exploitation with impunity of Indigenous women and girls. That was the reality in 1600, and that is the reality today in 2009.

It is simply not in the best interests of the drug cartels to see sex trafficking brought under control in Mexico. Selling women and girls internationally brings them as much profit as trafficking in drugs, while exposing them to less risk.

In reality, the fact that Mexico does not control modern human slavery, and especially the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC), means that the entire world-wide marketplace of buyers of child and adult sex slaves eagerly seek-out the merchandise sold by Mexico's sex trafficking 'industry.'

The southern Mexican border region has been identified as the largest center for Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the entire world. In one glaring example of that truth, over 50% of the 20,000 plus women and girls working in that border region's prostitution 'mega-center,' the city of Tapachula, are underage girls.

In addition, an estimated 450 to 600 Latin American migrant women and girls are sexually assaulted each and every day as they cross from Guatemala into Mexico, seeking to reach the United States. Many of those victims are then kidnapped and sold by sex traffickers. A 12-year-old Mayan girl can be bought in the border region for $100 to $200 dollars. If she can be transported to Madrid, Spain, the trafficker can resell the girl for over $25,000, because Mayan girls are considered to be 'exotic' merchandise.

Despite these tragedies, and the thousands of other cases that exist, for 11 full months, during which time the Congress of the Republic issued four stern warnings to him on the issue, Mexico's President Felipe Calderón delayed publishing federal regulations that were desperately needed to enable the nation's 2008 federal anti-trafficking law, its first.

When the President did finally publish the regulations, Congress and anti-trafficking activists in Mexico found the rules to have been watered down, weakening the law and deliberately thwarting the intent of Congress - to control modern human slavery.

The drug cartels control Mexico 'on the ground' - and Mexico's federal government expresses a combination of indifference and impunity in regard to combating human trafficking. Therefore, sexual slavery and labor trafficking are not at all controlled in Mexico. Plain and simple. Mexico's government will do what it must to be placed in a good position on the U.S. Department of State's global Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, but beyond that, victims should not hold their breath while they wait for assistance.

Despite Mexico's ratification of the United Nations' Palermo Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants in March of 2003, modern sexual and labor slavery remain completely protected by impunity, while traffickers laugh all the way to the bank with their profits.

Mexico is just one example of a reality that exists across the world. Nations living in poverty who are targeted by modern human traffickers will, at the levels of  government, law enforcement and civil society, often turn a blind eye in exchange for a cut of the profits from the sex trade. As honest citizens and those who are vulnerable to being trafficked clamor for protection and justice, they find that 'nobody is home' in the government agencies that should protect them from these sadistic gangsters.

As the crisis on modern human slavery grows and spins out of control in reaction to increasing demand and the impact of the global economic downturn, creative new approaches and  solutions to combat trafficking must be brought to the table.

We are therefore encouraged by the brave efforts of United Nations diplomats and Ecuadorian Minister of Justice and Human Rights (Attorney General) Néstor Arbito Chica to promote a Global Plan of Action to get around the very clear fact that the Palermo Protocol, and regional efforts by the Organization of American States (OAS) are insufficient to successfully fight this aggressive war against a whole generation of Latin American and especially Indigenous women and girls.

We look forward to seeing the United States take a leading role to step-up efforts to bring this crisis under control.

We are not, for example, impressed that sex traffickers have taken an estimated 4,000 underage Indigenous girls from Mexico to Japan to be sold into the Yakuza mafia's network of brothels.

Between the leaders of Japan, the United States and the United Nations, there does exist the power to rescue these children and bring them back home.

Can you make that happen, President Obama?

If not, it is time to form a United Nations-based Global Plan of Action entity that can carry out such rescues.

We therefore recommend that the U.S. Department of State change its current opposition to a Global Plan of Action, a position that it bases  upon an assumption that the Palermo Protocol is an effective mechanism to combat modern slavery.

It is clear to see that the Palermo Protocol is not working effectively.

Meanwhile, the victims wait for help that may never come, and those at risk wait for the day when they can walk down the street without fear of being kidnapped and raped dozens of times per day for the three or four years that they might be expected to survive through the unending, nightmarish hell of a life that we call sexual slavery.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 6, 2009


Added: June 6, 2009

Guatemala

Stop the Killing of Women in Guatemala

"Guatemala: We have neither protection nor justice for women and girls."

Photo: Amnesty International

Guatemala’s Femicide Law: Progress Against Impunity?

Excerpt form the  Executive Summary

Guatemala ranks among the most dangerous places in Latin America, especially for women. While crime and violence affects everyone, particularly community leaders, indigenous rights representatives, judges, and human rights defenders, violence against women and girls has escalated markedly in the past ten years…

With a population under 14 million, Guatemala registered over 4,300 violent murders of women from 2000 to 2008, and shockingly 98% of the cases remained unsolved. The majority of murders are committed by firearm in and around Guatemala City, and are preceded by rape or torture…

The internal armed conflict, classified as genocide by the United Nations, contributed heavily to the legacy of violence in Guatemala, including violence against women. With torture regularly used as a military technique, the torment that women faced was of a particularly sadistic nature. Two comprehensive reports document the extent of the sexual abuses carried out against women during the war. The vast majority who suffered sexual violence were of Mayan descent (88.7%). It has been estimated that 50,000 women and girls were victims of violence.

The suffering endured by women during the internal armed conflict did not end with the signing of the Peace Accords in 1996. Organized crime, gangs, drug trafficking, and human trafficking have become part of daily life both in the capital city and also throughout the countryside. A lack of rule of law, including corruption, gender bias and impunity in law enforcement, investigations and the legal system have also had an adverse effect on women…

Impunity in cases of violence against women and femicide is staggeringly high. Dr. Carlos Castresana, Commissioner of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), has identified impunity as the overwhelming factor in the femicide crisis…

The Guatemalan National Police force is understaffed, lacks training on how to approach female victims of violence, and is notoriously corrupt. Domestic violence continues to be dismissed as a “private” matter, despite legislation to the contrary, and gender bias permeates the investigative process and judicial system. In many femicide cases victims are initially dismissed as prostitutes, gang members, or criminals…

Guatemala Human rights Commission / USA

2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

About the sexual exploitation with impunity of women and children in the Mayan majority nation of Guatemala


Added: June 6, 2009

The World /

El Mundo

Regine Stachelhaus, head of UNICEF Germany, attends a press conference to present a UNICEF world report on global child sexual exploitation on June 2, 2009 in Berlin

Photo: Getty Images

Roger Moore urges global action against child exploitation

Former James Bond star Roger Moore lashed out on Tuesday against the sexual exploitation of children, urging those who abuse minors to be pursued across national borders - reports AFP.

Speaking at the publication of a new UNICEF report on the sexual abuse of children, Moore said: "Childhood is being destroyed by sexual abuse, violence and neglect. We must stop it. If we do nothing, our silence would mean acceptance."

The 81-year-old British actor, a longtime UNICEF ambassador, added: "I can hardly imagine a more shameful violation of the rights of children as the deliberate exploitation of their bodies by unscrupulous adults to serve their sexual appetite."

"They destroy the childhood of their victims and do harm to them that lasts throughout their lives."

He called for better cooperation between police forces, public prosecutors and the business sector.

"Perpetrators must be followed across borders," he urged.

The UNICEF report quoted data from a 2006 World Health Organization (WHO) document estimating that as many as 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 are "every year forced into sex".

Actor News

June 2, 2009

UNICEF ambassador and former movie star Roger Moore presents UNICEF report on global levels of child exploitation

UNICEF: En el mundo hay 225 millones de niños explotados sexualmente

Unos 150 millones de niñas y unos 73 millones de niños menores de 18 años son víctimas de explotación sexual en el mundo, según un informe publicado el martes por la sección alemana de UNICEF.

Berlín - Cientos de miles de niños son cada año vendidos al extranjero, a menudo con fines sexuales, según las estadísticas del Fondo de Naciones Unidas para la Infancia (UNICEF), que fueron presentadas en Berlín por el actor y 'ex James Bond' Roger Moore, embajador de buena voluntad de la entidad.

A pesar de los progresos alcanzados en materia de legislación para proteger a los niños, "esto se aplica mal a menudo en numerosos países", comentó el actor británico. "Cada año millones de niñas y niños son forzados a prostituirse y a la pornografía", indicó Moore, añadiendo que el desarrollo de internet y de las tecnologías de vídeo han provocado una explosión de la difusión de imágenes de pedofilia.

Según las estimaciones de UNICEF, entre 60.000 y 100.000 niños son víctimas del comercio sexual en Filipinas, mientras que en Bangladesh la media de edad de los menores víctimas de explotación sexual es de 13 años.

En las playas turísticas de Kenia unos 150.000 niños se prostituyen diariamente, siendo la mayoría de ellos víctimas de turistas sexuales procedentes de países ricos, por lo que UNICEF instó a un mayor esfuerzo a escala internacional para combatir esta plaga.

Agence France Presse (AFP)

June 02, 2009

Added: June 6, 2009

The World /

El Mundo

Horrific Figures: 225 Million Children Victims of Sexual Exploitation

Every year millions of children are forced to take part in the porn industry while hundreds of thousands are being sold for sexual purposes.

Around 150 million girls and 73 million boys under the age of 18 fall victim to sexual exploitation in the world, says a report issued by the German branch of UNICEF.

Every year hundreds of thousands of children are being sold to other countries, often for sexual purposes, says the report which UNICEF’s ambassador and former movie star Roger Moore, best known for his role in a series of James Bond films, presented in Berlin on Tuesday.

Despite progress made in passing laws to protect children, the laws are too often poorly applied in many countries, Moore said.

Explosion of pedophilia on the internet

Every year millions of girls and boys are forced into prostitution and into the porn industry, Moore said.

The development of the internet and video technology have caused an explosion of pedophilic content on the internet.

According to UNICEF data, between 60,000 and 100,000 children are victims of sexual industry in the Philippines, and in Bangladesh, the average age of a sexually exploited child is thirteen.

On the beaches on Kenya, 15,000 children prostitute themselves every day and fall victims of tourists from rich countries, the UNICEF reports.

The UN organization is urging the international community to invest in a maximum efforts to stop this crime.

Germany’s Minister of Family Ursula von der Leyen, who wishes to push a law against child pornography on the internet in her country, said Germany should be a role-model for the international fight against human trafficking, child prostitution and child pornography.

Javno.com

Germany

June 02, 2009

See also:

Added: June 6, 2009

The World /

El Mundo

United Nations: Child Sex Trade Will Rise Amid World Financial Crisis

Sao Paulo, Brazil - More poor children may be driven into the sex trade as a result of the world financial crisis and the spreading use of the Internet by predators to find victims, participants at a U.N.-backed conference said Wednesday.

Those factors pose new challenges for governments, which must do more to combat abuse and growing child prostitution, said Ann Veneman, executive director of UNICEF.

"Poverty contributes to it," Veneman said in a telephone interview from Rio de Janeiro, where U.N. agency is a co-sponsor of this week's Third World Congress against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents.

"You are more likely to have demands on children to drop out of school, and if they are young girls, they are very likely to end up in prostitution or being sexually exploited." ...

A recent U.N. survey estimated that 150 million girls and 73 million boys under age 18 were forced to have sexual intercourse or experienced other forms of sexual violence in 2002...

In the largely lawless [Brazilian] Amazon region state of Para, some families prostitute their daughters to truckers because it's often the only way they can get enough money to eat, said federal police superintendent Ismar Ferreira.

He blamed a lack of social programs for preventing the practice, and said some cases end up as sexual slavery.

"I found a 72-year-old man living with an 11-year-old girl he got in a trade for a sack of flour," Ferreira told the Agencia Brasil news agency.

Last year, a 15-year-old girl arrested on petty theft charges was left for weeks in a jail cell in Para state with 21 men, who raped her, tortured her and only allowed her food in exchange for sex...

FoxNews.com

Nov. 26, 2008

LibertadLatina

Commentary

UNICEF documents the fact that an estimated 225 million children are sexually exploited in the world today

We would like to thank UNICEF Germany for producing its 2009 report that defines the huge scale of child sexual exploitation in the world today.

We need this, and even more research and reporting to help make the case to world leaders that much more must be done to stop the sexual exploitation of children.

The Commercial  Sexual Exploitation Children (CSEC) has been 'institutionalized' in Latin America for centuries. Without such honest documentation, this exploitation, hidden by an ancient, socially enforced 'code of silence,' will remain in the shadows.

We hope that the UNICEF report receives wide press coverage, and we hope that the morally responsible parties in all nations will react to this report, and stand up to aggressively combat these socially condoned mass atrocities against children!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 6, 2009

See also:

Mexico: Más de un millón de menores se prostituyen en el centro del país: especialista

Expert: More than one million minors are sexually exploited in Central Mexico

Tlaxcala city, in Tlaxcala state - Around 1.5 million people in the central region of Mexico are engaged in prostitution, and some 75% of them are between 12 and 13 years of age, reported Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean...

During an international seminar in the city of Tlaxcala, Ulloa noted that, due to the conditions of marginalization in which they live, at least 50 million women and children in Latin America are at risk of being recruited for sexual exploitation.

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 26, 2007


Added: June 6, 2009

Pennsylvania, USA

Heroes David Vargas and Fernando Genval are given  reward checks

Accused child rapist Jose Carasquillo

11-Year Old Rape Victim and Dad Thank Vigilante "Heroes"

Two men who caught and beat the suspect split $11,500

The little girl who was viciously raped came with her dad to thank the vigilante "heroes" who caught and beat the suspect. David Vargas and Fernando Genval were given $11,500 in reward money.

Her dad said to everyone in the room, "Just thank you for caring."

Police sources say rape suspect Jose Carrasquillo may have followed and groped a second girl on the very same morning he's accused of sexually assaulting the 11-year old Kensington girl.

Carrasquillo didn't get the luxury of street clothes when he left the hospital Thursday. He was rushed, still in his medical gown, into the Special Victims unit for questioning.

Carrasquillo was spotted and beaten in the street Tuesday afternoon by neighbors. The two men who led the charge, one with a two-by-four, were called heroes by the Fraternal Order of Police during Friday's ceremony. The FOP put up most of the reward money.

The mob scene was caught on tape by a surveillance camera and the victim watched that tape when she got home from the hospital. Her grandmother told NBC10's Mike Strug the little girl wanted to see the video, despite her warnings.

"Baby, you don't have to watch it, I told her, but she said 'I want to watch it because I want to see them kick his butt. I just want to stab him too. I want to hurt him too,'" is how the grandmother recounted the conversation.

Dan Stamm and Karn Araiza

NBC Philadelphia

Jun 5, 2009


Added: June 6, 2009

Texas, USA

Edwin Auner Morales

Police: Man tried to rape 13-year-old babysitter

McAllen - Police arrested a man who allegedly tried to rape a 13-year-old girl who was babysitting his children.

The girl told police Edwin Auner Morales, 23, tried forcing himself on her at his home... late last month.

According to a police affidavit in the case, the girl was holding one of his wife's babies when he approached her and told her that he wanted to have sex with her.

The girl told the man she did not want to have sex with him because he was married but Morales insisted, the record states.

Morales told the girl he was having marital problems and grabbed her by the arms while she was still carrying the child.

The victim said she kicked and pushed him away before she walked into his bedroom and placed the baby on the bed, according to the affidavit.

Morales then pushed her on the bed and got on top of her while the baby lay beside them.

The babysitter said she got up, picked the baby up from the bed and tried handing it to Morales to distract him.

Instead of taking the child, Morales insisted that he wanted to have sex with the girl, the record states.

The victim said she then kicked him on the legs and pushed him to the ground as she carried the infant. While he struggled to stand up, she placed the baby back on the bed and left the home.

On Wednesday, Morales confessed that he tried having sex with the girl against her will and he acknowledged that he knew she was a minor during the incident, the affidavit states…

Ana Ley

The Monitor

May 30, 2009


Added: June 2, 2009

California, USA

Armando Sanchez

Updated: Sex offender arrested for following girls to school

Gilroy - Police arrested a 30-year-old registered sex offender after he allegedly followed two sisters, 14 and 11, who were on their way to school.

About 8:20 a.m. Friday, police pulled over a white Toyota SUV driven by Armando Sanchez near the corner of Fourth and Church streets and arrested him for annoying or molesting a child younger than 18 and driving with a suspended license, both misdemeanors. One of the victims identified him at the scene as the man who followed her and her sister earlier that week. Sanchez, who lived on the 8100 block of Forest Street, is a registered sex offender, according to police, but he did not show up on the Megan's Law Web site, which tracks California sex offenders.

About 9:15 a.m. Wednesday, two girls reported that they were being followed by a Hispanic man in his mid-20s driving a white Ford Explorer or Jeep Cherokee without a front grill, police said. He slowly drove past them on the 7600 block of Hanna Street - between Third and Fourth streets - at least three times, slowing down each time to smile and give the peace sign to the sisters as they walked to their separate schools.

After the third loop, the man made a U-turn and drove northbound on Hanna Street toward the girls, who were walking in that direction. They crossed the road during his maneuver, though, causing the man to keep on driving, police said.

When the older sister kept walking on Hanna toward Brownell Middle School just a block north, she told her younger sister to stay close to a woman and another young girl walking west on Third Street toward El Roble Elementary School, which sits about six blocks west from that location, near the intersection of Wren Avenue and Third Street.

Before the younger sister could make it to El Roble, though, the man drove by again - nearing her for the fifth time - and actually stopped near Third and Rea streets. According to the 11-year-old, who notified school officials who called police, the man stepped out of the SUV and yelled in English, "Don't run. I'm not going to do anything to you."

"She was obviously spooked by this, so she picked up her pace to catch up with the adult in front of her, and when he saw this, he drove away," Sgt. Jim Gillio said. "He took it to the next level. There was a pattern and an overt attempt to bother the victims."

Although Sanchez is a registered sex offender, police could not disclose his previous offenses, Gillio said. According to the Megan's Law Web site, about 25 percent of registered sex offenders are excluded from public disclosure by law and, therefore, do not appear online...

Sara Suddes

The Gilroy Dispatch

Jun 1, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina note:

Unfortunately, men who come from cultures where the the sexual harassment of underage girls is encouraged by the most severe forms of machismo (especially in rural areas) take these beliefs with them when then migrate to the United States and other nations. I have had to come to the aid of several women and underage girls who have been harassed by immigrant men who feel that it is their birthright to engage in this behavior. The below true account details one such event.

If this occurs across the United States, as numerous press stories have documented, imagine what underage girls are going through in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, where there is often no police response to crimes involving adult men who target young girls for sexual assault.

This issue will be an obstacle to serious immigration reform until Latino communities and leaders take this issue head on and denounce these abuses. Today, the 'code of silence' in the Barrio predomi-nates, providing cover to men who behave like this.

Chuck Goolsby

June 3, 2009

From: A letter to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

In 1997 I reported the ongoing, daily sexual harassment of an 11 year old Latina immigrant girl from El Salvador by an adult man to the Gaithersburg City, Maryland Police Department.

[This adult man had the audacity to attempt to tell this girl's mother formally of his plans to date her daughter.]

The first visits by a patrol officers on two occasions involved [on the first occasion] an officer who didn't care at all and took no action; and [on the second occasion,] a lack of willingness to follow up on the case when the harasser was found not to be home (I served as translator for these two officers). During the second incident, the officers had me translate for a roommate of the harasser, and never came back to talk to the harasser at all.

These two officers [one from Gaithersburg City and one from the Montgomery County Police Department] told me in a matter of fact way that they could not respond to what the county Police Academy had taught them (in cultural sensitivity classes there) was just a part of Latino culture [the sexual harassment and sexual exploitation of 11-year-old girls].

The next year, 1998, I again approached the Gaithersburg City Police force to report that the same adult man was now sexually involved with this now 12 year old girl. The officer who I spoke with at the city's police station stated to me that "We can't just pick him up, he might sue the city." I demanded to know from this officer "whether there were laws against pedophilia and statutory rape in Maryland or were there not!"

[The officer had to huddle with two co-workers for 10 minutes off in a corner before agreeing to go and arrest the perpetrator at the girl's mother's request.]

I had to assert myself in the face of this apathy and disinterest, to the apparent approval of the female clerk working at the city's police station, where this conversation took place...

Chuck Goolsby

Letter to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Dec. 5, 1999

See also:

Letter from a social worker, that responds to the above letter

Dear Mr. Goolsby,

"Over the past two years, I have been observing a systemic pattern of violence committed against girls and young women in our community. This violence involves the sexual abuse/assault against girls as young as 10 years old...

...There have been incidents of date rape, gang rape, abductions, drugging, threats with firearms, etc. The incidents are just as you described in your [Mr. Goolsby's 1999] letter [to the National center for Missing and Exploited Children] and have been met with the same level of indifference and dismissal of legal (never mind moral) responsibility on the part of civil institutions -- the police department, public schools, etc."

...While some do say this is culturally accepted behavior, the reality is that many families -- mothers and fathers alike -- are enraged and wanting to pursue prosecution of the perpetrators, but they find themselves without recourse when the police won't respond to them, when they fear risking their personal safety, and/or when their legal status (undocumented) prevents them from believing they have rights or legal protection in this country. Many girls and young women's families are threatened and harassed by the perpetrators when it becomes apparent that the family is willing to press charges for statutory rape/child sexual abuse. 

The use of intimidation and violence to control girls and their families results in the following: 1) parents/guardians back off from pressing charges, 2) relatives do not inform the police or others of sightings of girls and young women who have been officially reported as "missing juveniles," and 3) the victims of sexual violence refuse to participate as "willing witnesses" in the prosecution/trial process.

When this sexual violence occurs within the context of a seemingly permissive public environment -- indifferent civil institutions, forced silence and complicity of families, gang culture, a society that explicitly promotes the sexualization and exploitation of children through media -- its criminal and immoral nature goes unquestioned. My question is how and where do we create the public environment that allows us to voice our disapproval and to hold the implicated adults accountable for their negligent care of our children?

- A Latina Social Worker and girl's community center director working with young, mostly Latina girls and youth in Washington, DC's largest Latino neighborhoods

Dec., 1999

See also:

LibertadLatina

Special section...

U.S. Rape Cases


Added: June 2, 2009

Mexico

Tlapanec human rights activist Inés Fernández Ortega

Photo: El Comite de Verdad, Justicia y Libertad

Indigenous Rape Victims Fight Military Impunity

Mexico City - The aberrations of Mexican justice were clearly visible in the cases of rape and torture allegedly committed by soldiers in 2002 against two indigenous women, Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo. But their experiences are not exceptional in rural areas of the southern state of Guerrero.

However, Fernández and Rosendo, both 23, who have suffered death threats and have been stigmatized by neighbors and even by their husbands as rape victims, are not giving up. This month Fernández managed to take her case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and Rosendo may achieve the same in the near future.

Abuses by the military and police are a permanent feature of life in rural areas in Guerrero [state], and reporting them to the Mexican justice system has had little to no effect, according to human rights organizations that have documented the cases.

The state security forces are deployed in Guerrero to fight drug trafficking and small guerrilla groups, the authorities say.

"Under the pretext of security concerns, the authorities are rampantly violating the human rights" of campesinos (small farmers) in Guerrero, most of whom are indigenous people...

Fernández, of the Tlapanec people, was raped in March 2002 when soldiers came to her house, demanding to know where the beef she was cooking had come from.

Just 17 years old, Fernández did not reply because she does not speak Spanish. Furious, the soldiers burst into her home and one of them raped her there in front of her four small children, said Rosales, her lawyer.

Rosendo, another Tlapanec woman who was also under 18 at the time, had gone through a similar ordeal a month earlier. She was washing clothes when she was approached by a group of soldiers who tried to question her but got no reply because she, too, did not speak Spanish. One of the soldiers then raped her.

Both cases were reported to the local police and justice authorities. The prosecutions that followed were marred by obstacles like indifferent treatment by experts, a marked lack of interest in securing evidence, and discrimination against the victims, "things that, as we well know, are not at all unusual here in Mexico," Rosales said.

After several months of fruitless procedures, the civil justice authorities handed both cases over to the military courts, which in 2006 closed the investigations on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the soldiers concerned had committed "breaches of military discipline…"

Diego Cevallos

Inter Press Service (IPS)

May 29, 2009

See also:

Hostigamiento y persecución a compañeros en Guerrero

About the military's harassment of Inés Fernández Ortega and her husband, Fortunato Prisciliano, members of the Tlapaneco (mepha`a) indigenous movement

En peligro la vida de nuestros compañeros Fortunato e Inés, quienes con valor y dignidad han denunciado el abuso del ejército federal en la sierra mepha`a de Guerrero.

Inés Fernández Ortega y su esposo Fortunato Prisciliano son miembros de la Organización de Pueblo Indígena Mepha´a de Ayutla de los Libres y adherentes a la "Otra campaña".

A Inés Fernández Ortega, el 22 de marzo de 2002 fue atacada y violada por tres soldados del ejército federal. Los "guachos" entraron a su casa de madera y tierra para interrogarla acerca de una carne que estaba colgada fuera de la casa y que según los soldados era robada, después fue interrogada sobre el paradero de su esposo y después fue ultrajada por los soldados. Posteriormente, Inés Fernández y Fortunato Prisciliano denunciaron ante las autoridades locales la violación e inicialmente se abrió una investigación en el Ministerio Público de Ayutla de los Libres, en el Estado de Guerrero. Sin embargo, las autoridades militares no tardaron mucho en atribuirse la jurisdicción del caso y en 2003 el fiscal militar recomendó cerrar las investigaciones. Según los informes, ese mismo año soldados del ejército mexicano intimidaron a la pareja y acosaron a otros vecinos de Ayutla...

El Comite de Verdad, Justicia y Libertad

The Truth Justice and Liberty Committee

August 28, 2007

See also:

Mexico: Government, Military Scramble to Deny Rape of Indigenous Woman

Mexico City - The handling of the case of an elderly indigenous woman who was allegedly raped by soldiers and died soon afterwards has seriously undermined public trust in the governmental National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), the Mexican government and the armed forces, which deny that she was sexually assaulted.

"We believe they want to let the case go unpunished, which is simply unacceptable. We regret and deplore that the government should abase itself in this way before the power of the military," the president of the Mexican League for the Defence of Human Rights, Adrián Ramírez, told IPS.

Ernestina Ascensio, a 73-year-old Nahuátl indigenous sheep herder, died on Feb. 25 in the rural municipality of Soledad Atzompa in the state of Veracruz, located on the Gulf of Mexico. A military detachment of some 100 troops is stationed in this extremely poor area.

According to the elderly woman's relatives, before she died she told them that several soldiers had attacked her, and this testimony was confirmed by Veracruz prosecutors, who stated after a forensic examination of the body that the injuries received were consistent with having been brutally raped and sodomized. She had also suffered fractures of the skull and hip.

However, a rival version of the facts soon followed. After exhumation of the body and a second autopsy, president of the CNDH José Luis Soberanes declared Thursday that Ascensio had not been raped but had died of anemia caused by malnutrition and chronic intestinal bleeding.

"I don't know whether they're trying to protect the guilty or what, but this information from the CNDH is very serious, because it does not appear to be substantiated," Ramírez said...

Diego Cevallos

Inter Press Service (IPS)

March 29, 2007


Added: June 2, 2009

Arizona, USA

[Undocumented migrants arrested] at multiple border crossings

It was a busy weekend for Border Patrol agents in Arizona.

At the Naco station, two child molesters were arrested. One was convicted in Washington, the other in New York. Both are Mexican nationals.

At the Tucson station, three illegal immigrants from China were caught.

Agents at the Wilcox station nabbed a child molester from Mexico.

And a Mexican national who was convicted of rape in Wisconsin was caught in Douglas.

A Salvadoran gang member wanted for murder in Las Vegas was caught in Ajo.

Jayme West

KTAR

June 01, 2009


Added: June 24, 2009

Colombia

Stella Cardenas, director of Fundacion Renacer (the Rebirth Foundation)

Insuficientes, Nuevas Sanciones Sobre Turismo Sexual Y Pornografía Infantil En Colombia

Bogotá.- La muerte de Yesid Torres, de apenas 15 años, conmovió a los habitantes de Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, donde la explotación sexual va en aumento. El menor de edad falleció a consecuencia de una sobredosis de cocaína que consumió en el apartamento del italiano Paolo Pravisani, pederasta de 72 años,  quien lo había contratado para proveerle servicios sexuales, informó la agencia Semlac…

New Sanctions on Child Pornography and Sexual Tourism in Colombia are Insufficient

Bogota .- The death of Yesid Torres, a boy who had just turned 15, shocked the people of the city of Cartagena de Indias, where sexual exploitation is increasing. The youth died from an overdose of cocaine consumed in the apartment of Italian Paolo Pravisani, a 72 year old pedophile, who had contracted Torres to provide sexual services.

In response to increasing levels of sexual exploitation, Colombian lawmakers passed a new law on June 10, 2009 that applies new penalties, including a 20 year prison term for those who engage in producing child pornography. The law also makes child sex tourism a crime.

The legislation provides for prison sentences of 4 to 8 years for persons who promote child sex tourism, without the possibility of parole. The length of the sentence may be increased by half when the victim is under 12 years of age.

Stella Cardenas, director of Fundacion Renacer (the Rebirth Foundation), notes that although the penalty for promoting child sex tourism under the new law is higher than the 3 year sentence available under the old law, the length of sentence is still too low. She adds that the law fails to address cases of aggressors who sexually exploit youth between the ages of 14 and 18 who have consented to engage in [commercial] sex, often due to economic hardship.

CIMAC Noticias

News for Women

Mexico city

June 23, 2009

Véase también:

Luz Stella Cardenas

Luz Stella es la directora y fundadora de la Fundación Renacer, una organización que trabaja con niños y niñas víctimas de explotación sexual y ha atendido a lo largo de su historia a más de quince mil niños de Bogotá, Cartagena y Barranquilla. Desde 1988, su propósito fundamental ha sido combatir la explotación sexual infantil y acompañar a las personas explotadas sexualmente en su recuperación y realización personal...

Somos Más

Feb. 08, 2006

About Stella Cárdenas

Stella Cárdenas is building new institutional protections against child prostitution and pornography in Colombia by persuading the government to extend the mandate of its ministry charged with protection of children, the Ministry of Family Welfare... Stella and her Fundación Renacer ("Rebirth Foundation") contributed substantially to the passage of Law 360. This law, passed in 1997, for the first time assigned penalties–fines or jail sentences–for anyone who draws children into prostitution...

Ashoka International

2001


Added: June 23, 2009

Mexico

Mexico's immigration commissioner Cecilia Romero

El turismo sexual es inevitable: INM

Para la comisionada del Instituto Nacional de Migración, Cecilia Romero, el turismo sexual, tráfico de personas, comercio de mujeres, redes de pederastia, plagio y violencia contra miles de migrantes son “males de la humanidad” que México no puede erradicar...

Mexico’s Immigration Chief: Sex Tourism is Inevitable

According to Cecilia Romero, the commissioner of Mexico’s National Migration Institute (immigration service), sex tourism, human trafficking, female commercial sex work, pedophile networks, and the kidnappings and violence that victimize thousands of migrants [crossing Mexico to get to the U.S.] are "evils of humankind" that Mexico cannot eradicate.

Even if such practices have triggered: 1) harsh reports [about Mexico] from the U.S. Department of State and Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH); 2) complaints by foreign victims about their forced prostitution and sex trafficking; and 3) complaints from  [undocumented] Cuban migrants who have been are extorted for thousands of dollars in their quest to get to Florida, Romero concludes that all of these problems have existed since the origins of migration...

[Commenting on strong criticism of the INM and repeated calls for her resignation,] Romero argues that the National Migration Institute has implemented a 'purification' effort which has caused a number of problems to emerge into the public spotlight.

The immigration director noted that since her team arrived as part of President Felipe Calderón’s government, she has accomplished much, but she is also aware that those achievements will never be enough [to solve the problems that exist].

Romero said that the vast majority of complaints that have been submitted [about official corruption] originate from within the INM itself. So far about 300 immigration officers have been reprimanded or removed. "This shows that we are making progress, although I will never be satisfied in our war against organized crime."

Romero adds that when there is discussion about immigrants, the finger is always pointed at the INM. But, she says, the criminal networks have state police, corrections officers and also immigration agents on their payrolls. We are investigating and pursuing them. Romero insists that her agency is taking action to get to the bottom of the problem of corruption.

Jose Gerardo Mejia

El Universal

June 20 2009

LibertadLatina Commentary

We appreciate the fact that Cecilia Romero, the commissioner of Mexico’s National Migration Institute, is a rare federal agency director who is willing to be honest in expressing the Felipe Calderón Administration's lack of interest in treating the mass gender atrocity of adult and child sexual exploitation in that nation as a serious crisis requiring an urgent response.

According to the traditional beliefs of Roman feudalism that still prevail in Mexico, such behavior is, as Director Romero says, simply "inevitable."

The hidden follow-on to that statement is: "If it is inevitable, why do anything to fight it?"

So a nation like Mexico ends up doing only the minimum necessary to placate the U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons Office with the objective of receiving a reasonably good rating in the annual TIP report.

In other words, Romero is saying: Victims, don't hold your breath as you wait for help. That help is not coming from President Calderón's federal government.

That is not a good enough answer!

Commissioner Romero's statement is consistent with the lack of action that the Mexican public sees from its federal government in regard to addressing modern human slavery and other forms of violence against women.

We are especially concerned that this policy position, stating that mass sexual violence and slavery is inevitable, is consistent with other positions taken on women's human rights issues by President Calderón's National Action Party (PAN), such as stating that the women who have been kidnapped, tortured, raped and murdered by the hundreds in Ciudad Juarez caused their own deaths because they wore immodest clothing and walked in bad parts of town.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 23/24, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

Analysis of the political actions and policies of Mexico's National Action Party (PAN) in regard to their detrimental impact on women's basic human rights


Added: June 23, 2009

Colombia

El turismo sexual aumenta cada día más en el país  

Bogotá - Las cifras sobre turismo sexual en Colombia son alarmantes. Vender el cuerpo a clientes que llegan de todas partes del mundo, se ha convertido en uno de los mejores negocios en el país, siendo Cali una de las primeras ciudades en la lista...

Sex tourism is increasing on a daily basis

Bogota - The figures on sexual tourism in Colombia are alarming. To sell your body to customers who arrive from all over the world has become one of the best businesses in the nation, with Cali being the city at the top of the list.

According to a report of the Rebirth Foundation (Foundation Renacer), in the past two years the phenomenon has grown 53% in Cali, the capital of Valle del Cauca department [state]. Minors form the majority of those involved in the business.

The most appealing magnets for foreign tourists who come to our nation are the bodies of girls between 12 and 14 years [who are sold to them in prostitution]. This business generates huge profits for the mafia. Although 202 cases have been documented during the past 24 months, these incidents have been reported neither to the police for minors nor to the SIJIN (the Judicial Investigations and Intelligence Service). 

elpaisvallenato.com

June 21, 2009

LibertadLatina Commentary

Colombia may indeed be a leader in efforts to combat modern human trafficking. In the U.S. State Department's 2009 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, Colombia received a 'Tier 1' rating, the highest possible, to reward their efforts against human trafficking.

Yet Colombia's government and certain social elements contribute to a large number of human rights abuses, especially those that victimize Afro-Colombians in Indigenous peoples, who face wanton murder, rape and displacement by the military and right wing paramilitary forces hell bent on stealing their land and conducting their own perverted version of 'social cleansing.' Leftist guerillas are not innocent either.

These abuses, including the forced conscription of underage girls and accompanying sexual abuse perpetrated by illegal armed groups on both sides of the conflict contribute to an environment where mass human trafficking is made possible.

With an estimated 70,000 victims of human trafficking being created annually, Colombia is right up there with Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Argentina as one of the major nations involved in the illegal trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation.

We recommend that an index of trafficking behavior in these nations that is separate from the annual TIP report be developed to assess the true story 'on the ground' in the nations of the Americas. Currently, the TIP rating system does not reflect the true intensity of the problem.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 23, 2009


Added: June 21, 2009

Colombia - The United States

María is keeping her identity hidden, for fear of reprisals.

Photo: Helda Martínez/IPS

Trafficking Victims’ Ordeal Never Over

Bogota - A mixture of rage, impotence and terror is evident behind the sadness in María’s eyes. It’s been five months since she escaped from her captors in the United States, where she was taken under a false job contract, and she still can’t shake off her fear…

According to the available data, some 70,000 people fall victim to human trafficking every year in Colombia, which ranks third in the number of victims in Latin America, behind the Dominican Republic and Brazil.

…Statistics only partially reflect the magnitude of the crime, because many of the victims refuse to go to the police for fear traffickers will carry out their threats, or that they will be shunned by their community, or simply because they don’t realize just how severely their rights have been violated…

…People do fall for the bogus offers because they are in dire need of an opportunity for a better life. That was what happened to María, a 40-year old woman originally from the central province of Tolima, who was living on the outskirts of Bogotá when she was captured by members of a trafficking mafia.

She admitted to IPS that she’s still scared her captors will find her or come after her kids…

She’s also filled with rage. In November 2008 she and her family carefully examined the work contract before she decided to accept a job as a domestic in the home of a wealthy Colombian family in the United States…

But everything changed when she arrived at her destination somewhere in the U.S. … They took away her passport and other documents, then forced her to work all day long, from 5 a.m. through midnight, with only half a day’s rest on Sundays, and drastically reduced her meals, feeding her a meager vegetable diet…

[A] woman from El Salvador told María that what her "employers" were doing was illegal, explained how to unblock the telephone, and gave her an emergency number to phone the police for help.

But the police merely forced her captors to give back her passport and admonished them for how they were treating her.

That night, María’s kidnappers scared her with all sorts of threats against her and her family back in Colombia. They warned her that if she didn’t sign a paper exonerating them from all responsibility, they would report her to the police and accuse her of several offences, and she would be thrown in jail for years.

She was finally able to sneak out of the house while her kidnappers thought she was sleeping, and was driven to a shelter for human trafficking victims by the Salvadoran woman and her husband.

"There I started to get better. I spoke several times with my children and the rest of my family, and I came to realize that there are many people in the same difficult situation as me. Two other Colombian women were there with me, and another four had left the day I arrived," she said…

Inter press Service (IPS)

June 10, 2009

LibertadLatina Commentary:

Ten years ago a Colombian woman caught in an almost identical situation of domestic labor slavery approached a hair dresser, asking for help to escape her employer - a wealthy Colombian diplomatic family living in the Washington, DC region. I effected her escape, and that of a friend who worked for another diplomatic family from Colombia.

The victim's employer yelled and screamed at her, made her work under constant verbal threats from 6 am until midnight, forced her to cook, clean and mow the lawn and shovel the snow for a family of five living in a big house on a large piece of land, and forbade her to leave the house alone. Only during one of her 'supervised' visits to a local hair salon was she able to contact a sympathetic person willing to help. That person contacted me.

This woman still lives in fear of her employer, but has gotten married and has brought her daughter to the U.S.

Many middle and upper class women across Latin America employ domestic workers. A very large number of these employers act in a fashion that reflects extreme cruelty, and is consistent with the manner in which wealthy women in the Roman Empire treated slave women.

We see the results of this attitude in the Roman Empire through the example of the poorly fed and frail servant girls, barely given enough food to survive, whose well-preserved bodies have been found in the ruins of the houses of wealthy Romans who lived in the city of Pompeii. Many wealthy and middle class women continue to treat their 'hired help' in the same slave-like fashion in one offshoot of the Roman Empire, known as Latin America. You just have to watch a soap opera on a Spanish language TV network in the U.S. to confirm that fact.

As a millionaire Greek business owner once explained to me, the fact that Mediterranean cultures enslaved each other 'back and forth' for millennia lead directly to the fact that there is no remorse for slavery in Latin America. He told me that when he arrived in the U.S. years ago, his biggest surprise was that white Americans felt remorse for the past enslavement of African Americans.

That remorse does not exist in the Mediter-ranean region. By extension (Spain is a Mediterranean culture), remorse for slavery does no exist among the elites in Latin America.

So how can the world depend upon the judgment, and trust the actions of such elites to pass anti-trafficking laws and enforce them, when tolerance for labor and sexual exploitation was and is built into the very foundation of Latin American societies?

This is why a new Global Plan of Action against slavery, proposed by a number of United Nations member countries, is needed, because... given the existence of the U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons report or not, international legal instruments, and the threat of U.S. economic sanctions will not break through the Roman wall of impunity that enslaves Latin America's oppressed populations, and especially the poor, the indigenous and the African descendent, without engaging in out of the box thinking and action to end this crisis.

In other words, the modern anti-trafficking movement, and the actions of many international and U.S. bodies assume that all nations want to collaborate to end sex and labor  trafficking. That sentiment is true among some sectors of society in Latin America. But powerful economic and political forces thrive through the exploitation of the victims of modern human slavery, while ancient cultural and religious traditions justify such inhumanity.

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission recently announced that some 1,600 mostly Central American migrants traveling through Mexico to reach the U.S., mostly women and girls, are kidnapped each month into slavery. It is known that sexual slavery predominates in Mexico much more so than labor slavery. In the case of domestic servitude, involving tens of thousands of underage Indigenous girls in Mexico, sex and labor slavery, co-exist).

This is happening to the benefit of the elites and paid-off corrupt officials in Mexico, while at the same time the publication of serious federal regulations that are urgently required to enact the nation's first anti-trafficking law was intentionally delayed by President Felipe Calderón for 11 months. When the rules were finally published, after four stern warnings from Congress, they were watered down to make the law ineffective.

Many members of Mexico's Congress of the Republic have admonished President Calderón for not caring about the plight of trafficking victims.  Together with non-governmental organizations, these legislators have organized an effort to insist that President Calderón withdraw his current anti-trafficking regulations and allow them to be re-written to put the teeth back in them to reflect the original intent of Congress in passing the law. It is obvious that President Calderón finally published the regulations so that Mexico would receive a positive rating (Tier 2) in the 2009 U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report.

Meanwhile, 20,000 migrants, mostly women and children, are kidnapped into slavery in Mexico each year while corrupt and apathetic law enforcement and government officials not only don't lift a finger to help these victims, but, as the 2009 TIP report acknowledges, they are sometimes direct participants in these kidnappings.

In addition, 4,000 Indigenous Mexican children remain enslaved in prostitution in Japan, while neither Mexico nor Japan do anything to find and rescue them.

Eight year old Mexican girls have been reported as being trafficking "into the brothels of the basements of New York" both currently and since at least the mid 1990s, if not earlier.

Yet these realities are not reflected in the 2009 U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report, which was also true under the administration of former President George W. Bush.

The overall TIP report assessment of Mexico is accurate, but the nuances, detailing the intentional resistance by the Calderón administration against actually caring about and acting to defend trafficking victims and those at risk, is not reflected in the report.

The misogynist policies of the far right members of Calderón's National Action Party (PAN) are also not reflected in the 2009 TIP report. It is not in their best interest to clamp-down on modern human slavery, a position reflected in their efforts to foot-drag on building effective anti-trafficking efforts at the federal level.

Truth be told, Mexico's economy would be seriously 'harmed' if all forms of labor and sexual slavery ended. That does not justify extending the life of such exploitation for even one second.

We applaud Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Trafficking in Persons Office Director Louis C. De Baca, the first Latino head of the office, for the release of an expanded and well thought out Trafficking in Persons report, the first delivered by a Democratic administration.

But the case of Mexico, as well as the case of the major criminal enterprise that is the trafficking of mostly Afro-Latina women from the Dominican Republic to Argentina (while anti-trafficking analysis largely ignores this issue) are two areas that greatly concern us.

We look forward to seeing serious emphasis placed on addressing sex and labor trafficking in Latina America, especially where indigenous and African descendent populations are targeted, because in both types of slavery, these peoples comprise a very large segment of those who are at risk.

If this basic task of putting greater focus on the Latin American issue is accepted by the U.S. State Department, we should expect to see new initiatives in the Trafficking in Persons Office that go beyond the limited work that is being done today to address this emergency.

Latin America's exploding human trafficking crisis was virtually ignored during the past decade by the U.S. Government, except where foes of the U.S., including Cuba and Venezuela were concerned.

The real bad guys make their money in Mexico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Argentina. The Mexican trafficking mafias enslave 500,000 sex trafficking victims, according to Teresa Ulloa, director of the Latina American and Caribbean office of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Children. Yet the U.S. State Department declares, following the estimates developed by the United Nations funded International Labor Organization (ILO), that only 1.5 million sex slaves exist in the entire world.

So if both Teresa Ulloa and the ILO are to be believed, then Mexico has 1/3 of the world's sex slaves? Something is wrong with these numbers.

In addition, Save the Children has recognized that the southern Mexican border region is the largest area for the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the entire world. That fact is also missing from the 2009 TIP report.

We do not need another 8 years of obfuscation about the true and horrific magnitude of modern human slavery in Latin America.

We also do not need a diminished focus on this emergency because the forces that favor the legalization of prostitution are strongly represented in liberal Democratic circles. Their work is largely academic, and it does not account for the mass victimization of children and underage youth, especially in Latin America, who cannot possibly be seen as consenting, willing participants in the sex trade.

As well, we do not need to limit action against human trafficking to only a focus on further adoption of the Palermo Protocol, an approach which was defined during a gathering of diplomats at the United Nations on May 13, 2009 as being ineffective.

As we have stated before... We are encouraged by the brave efforts of United Nations diplomats and Ecuadorian Minister of Justice and Human Rights (Attorney General) Néstor Arbito Chica to promote a Global Plan of Action to get around the very clear fact that the Palermo Protocol, and regional efforts by the Organization of American States (OAS) are insufficient to successfully fight this aggressive criminal war against a whole generation of Latin American and especially Indigenous women and girls.

We look forward to seeing the United States take a leading role to step-up efforts to bring this crisis under control. We also look forward to seeing the U.S. State Department demonstrate leadership in addressing the hard issues in Latin America without seeing the rules changed behind closed doors in favor of quieting criticism of U.S. allies in the region, something that was quite blatant during the last U.S. Administration.

Those at risk, and those who are today enslaved in the region deserve our undivided attention and an honest approach to ending the condoned and officially sanctioned mass gender atrocity that is modern human slavery in Latin America.

The time of the Roman Empire is over!

Free my people now!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 21, 2009

See also:

En Japón, de 3 a 4 mil niñas mexicanas víctimas de ESCI

Afirma la experta Teresa Ulloa

Three to four thousand underage indigenous girls from the poor states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero and Mexico [state] have become victims of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in Japan.

Puebla city, in Puebla state - Teresa Ulloa, Latin America and Caribbean Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women (CATW) announced her estimates of the numbers of indigenous children sex trafficked to Japan, and explained that traffickers trick the victims using offers of thousands of dollars for their parents in exchange for  [obtaining permission] to take their daughters. The parents are told that their girls are going to the United States to work in fast food restaurant jobs.

Taking advantage of the condition of submission that Mexico's indigenous communities are forced to live in, the traffickers take their victims to Japan where they are prostituted and work as geishas, a role that Asian women no-longer want to play because today they have more decision-making power than in the past...

During her interview with CIMAC Noticias, Ulloa declared: "the subject [of child protection] is not on the national agenda. Much attention is paid to drug trafficking, but the government hasn't even realized that the same drug trafficking networks are used for the [sex] trafficking of children, and that organized crime regards this activity to be one of their most important businesses." ...

Nadia Altamirano Díaz

CIMAC Noticias

Dec. 12, 2008

See also:

Mexico: Más de un millón de menores se prostituyen en el centro del país: especialista

Expert: More than one million minors are sexually exploited in Central Mexico

Tlaxcala city, in Tlaxcala state - Around 1.5 million people in the central region of Mexico are engaged in prostitution, and some 75% of them are between 12 and 13 years of age, reported Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean...

During an international seminar in the city of Tlaxcala, Ulloa noted that, due to the conditions of marginalization in which they live, at least 50 million women and children in Latin America are at risk of being recruited for sexual exploitation.

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 26, 2007


Added: June 22, 2009

The United States - Latin America

The US Human Trafficking Report 2009: Whatever makes you think it's political?

The USA sometimes tries to make out the "equal partners" thing with the rest of the Americas and sometimes it doesn't. You get The Hawaiian making some lip service to the greater cause at the moment, but when push comes to shove and the bureaucrats are let loose, those old habits of arrogance, selective memory based on friendships and high-handedness towards "the brown people down there" shine on through.

Today the US State Department's ninth annual "Trafficking in Persons Report" was published, and here's how the region stacks up in the eyes of TheWorldPoliceman.™

Level One (complies with all, we luvs ya): Colombia

Level Two (not up to scratch but we see you're making an effort, try a bit harder, boyz): Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay.

Level Three (hmmm..not so good, kiddies. We're watching you so don't do anything stupid): Argentina, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Rep Dom, Venezuela

Level Four (bad bad bad naughty naughty sanctions sanctions): Cuba

But the biggest guilty party on human trafficking is left off the list completely. The country where many labor and sex slaves are sent by their paymasters and blind eyes are turned. Go on....take a wild guess as to which one.

The Democratic Underground

June 16, 2009


Added: June 21, 2009

The Americas

2009 TIP Ratings
Tier 1
Tier 2
Tier 2 Watch List
Tier 3

2009 U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report - Nations of the Americas

A-C: Antigua and Barbuda (Tier 2), Argentina (Tier 2 Watch List), Bahamas (Tier 2), Barbados (Tier 2), Belize (Tier 2 Watch List), Bolivia (Tier 2), Brazil (Tier 2), Canada (Tier 1), Chile (Tier 2), Colombia (Tier 1), Costa Rica (Tier 2), Cuba (Tier 3)

D-K: Dominican Republic (Tier 2 Watch List), Ecuador (Tier 2), El Salvador (Tier 2), Guatemala (Tier 2 Watch List), Guyana (Tier 2 Watch List), Haiti (missing), Honduras (Tier 2), Jamaica (Tier 2)

L-P: Mexico (Tier 2), Nicaragua (Tier 2 Watch List), Panama (Tier 2), Paraguay (Tier 2), Peru (Tier 2)

Q-Z: ST. Vincent and the Grenadines (Tier 2 Watch List), Trinidad and Tobago (Tier 2), Uruguay (Tier 2), Venezuela (Tier 2 Watch List)

See also:

Letter from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Letter from Ambassador Luis C. de Baca

Introduction

Major Forms of Trafficking in Persons

The Three P's: Punishment, Protection, Prevention

Financial Crisis and Human Trafficking

Topics of Special Interest

Victims' Stories

Global Law Enforcement Data

Commendable Intiatives Around the World

2009 TIP Report Heroes

Tier Placements

Maps

U.S. Government Domestic Anti-Trafficking Efforts

U.S. Department of State Office of Trafficking in Persons

June 16, 2009


Added: June 20, 2009

Guatemala 

Justicia parece no llegar en casos de niñas víctimas de violencia

El sistema de justicia parece no ser efectivo en los casos de tres niñas asesinadas recientemente en San Lucas Sacatepéquez y de una menor violada en Sololá, ya que se han registrado señales de negligencia en las investigaciones y parcialidad en el estudio de las pruebas, denunció la Fundación Sobrevivientes...

Justice Appears Distant in Cases of Girl Victims of Violence

The non-governmental organization La Fundación Sobrevivientes (the Survivor’s Foundation) has denounced the fact that Guatemala’s justice system does not appear to be working effectively in two criminal cases: 1) that of three girls killed recently in San Lucas Sacatepequez; and 2) the case of a minor girl raped in the city of Sololá. The Foundation states that there have been indications of negligence and bias in the evaluation of the evidence in these cases.

In the first case, a 13-year-old girl was raped on July 8, 2008 in Sololá. Judge Frank Armando Martínez allowed the accused assailant, Martín Tambríz, to be freed despite conclusive evidence of his guilt. Forensic evidence had showed a positive DNA match tying Tambríz to the rape. The Foundation plans to appeal the acquittal.

Lawyers for the Survivor’s Foundation also expressed concern about the case of three girls, ages 7, 8 and 12, who were “butchered” on May 29, 2009 in the hamlet Chicamán in San Lucas Sacatepequez. It was ascertained that one of the victim’s was raped. Three men suspected in the crime have been detained. The Foundation emphasizes that there are signs of negligence in the investigation conducted by the District Attorney of Sacatepéquez, a fact that will not contribute to solving these crimes.

The Survivor’s Foundation has asked that the case be moved to the capital, Guatemala City to insure that the investigation and preparations for prosecution are able to be observed, ensuring that due process is respected in the case.

CERIGUA

June 19, 2009


Added: June 20, 2009

Guatemala

Guatemala.- Una indígena guatemalteca es la primera mujer maya que logra que encarcelen a un policía por haberla violado

Nebaj - La indígena guatemalteca Juana Méndez ha sido la primera mujer maya que abre un proceso judicial contra un policial por haberla violado y logra que sea condenado, según contó ella misma en una entrevista con Europa Press.

El gran índice de impunidad en delitos contra las mujeres, según han denunciado reiteradamente asociaciones feministas, se rompe así con este caso. A Méndez "le hicieron daño" y ella "no lo quiso dejarlo así, quiso decir la verdad".

Pese a las amenazas de muerte y a los consejos que personas de su entorno le reiteraban para que retirase del proceso contra el policía, ella decidió seguir adelante. "Qué pienso, que tiene que haber ley; si un hombre me hizo eso, tiene que pagarlo"...

Guatemala .- A Guatemalan indigenous Maya is the first woman to get a police officer imprisoned for having violated

Nebaj - Juana Méndez has become the first Mayan woman [in this Mayan majority nation] to pursue legal proceedings against a policeman for the crime of rape that has resulted in a conviction

This case succeeded despite the high rate of impunity for crimes against women, an issue that has repeatedly been raised by feminists.  Méndez stated: "they did me harm" and she "did not want to leave it at that, I wanted to tell the truth."

Despite death threats and the repeated advice from people around her to withdraw the case against the policemen, she decided to go ahead. "What do I believe? I believe that the rule of law has to exist. If a man does that to you, he has to pay.” Juana Mendez said that with the full support of her husband, who had told his wife that he would not respond to this problem with domestic violence [a common reaction of the husbands of rape victims]…

Méndez’ struggle for justice caused her insomnia from fear, and she couldn’t eat. But she never retreated, saying, “I had to tell the truth.” "I told the judge that these policemen had raped me.” Her female friends told her that she should not pursue the case, because her husband would beat her. She replied to them: “I don’t care if my husband beats me. I am going to tell the truth.”

The one policeman who was tried has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. Asked whether she fears retaliation when the convicted rapist gets out of prison, Méndez said that "I am afraid that he will do something. But I don’t think that he will get out of prison."

Echoing the sentiment of many indigenous defense association leaders, Méndez denounced the situation of impunity that we live through in Guatemala, and above all, she protests the crimes that were committed during the 36-year armed conflict [that ended in 1996]. I regret that the victims and the murders have to live together.

Francisco Otero

Europa Press

May 10, 2009

See also:

New film about Juana Mendez

Juana Mendez will be remembered in Guatemala as the first woman who succeeded in achieving a conviction against a serving police officer for mistreating her in custody.

During her detention at the police station in Nebaj she was raped and sexually assaulted by several officers, one of whom was finally brought to justice. The Institute of Comparative Studies in Penal Sciences, ICCPG from its initials in Spanish, and Project Counselling Services, have made a film about the case which you can see here, in three parts.

Gabriela Barrios

See also:

Supervivientes del genocidio maya se sienten "olvidados" y acusan al Gobierno de incumplir los acuerdos

Supervivientes del genocidio maya, acaecido durante la guerra civil de Guatemala (1960-1996), acusaron al Gobierno de la nación de incumplir los acuerdos de paz de 1996 y denunciaron que "se sienten olvidados" por las autoridades del país centroamericano.

Survivors of the Mayan Genocide Feel "Forgotten" and Accuse Guatemala's Government of Having Ignored their Obligations Under the 1996 Peace Accords

Nebaj - Mayan survivors of the genocide, which took place during Guatemala's civil war (1960-1996), have accused the national government of violating the 1996 national peace agreements and they feel neglected by the authorities of the Central American country.

This is what Juana Méndez believes. She asserts that "we continue living in poverty because our people have not yet recovered from the crimes committed against us." “They have not acknowledged the fact that the victims need material, as well as psychological support, such as in the form of opening a museum so that the families [of the victims] can understand what happened.”

Méndez explained that in her case, she had to flee to the mountains to avoid being attacked by soldiers. She doesn’t remember any longer how how long she was in hiding, but she feels that she is “one more victims of the military violence,” which had a major impact on women. However, Méndez says that she appreciates the efforts made by non-governmental organizations in order to bring light upon the violence that Guatemalan women suffered through their bodies.

Francisco Otero

Europa Press

May 09, 2009


Added: June 20, 2009

Colombia

Statement of Ms. Navanethem Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the 11th Human Rights Council

"In Latin America, I wish to reiterate that Colombia remains a situation of utmost concern. That country's 40-year-long armed conflict has resulted in enormous human, social, economic and political costs. Civilian lives, security and property continue to be targeted by all armed groups. Indigenous and Afro-Colombian are disproportionately affected. Sexual violence as a war tactic is directed against women and girls. Most victims are women heads of larger households, in their 40s, with limited education and few opportunities to work. The conflict continues to displace people. Antipersonnel mines, which the Government banned, but which are planted by guerrilla groups, keep exacting their toll on civilians. I welcome the Government's invitation to a number of Special Procedures mandate holders, but also call upon it to act on their recommendations in an effective manner. The Government should take all the necessary steps to protect civilians, mitigate their suffering and address their need for justice."

United Nations Human Rights Council; United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Geneva, Switzerland

June 03, 2009


Added: June 20, 2009

The Americas

Mariliana Morales Berrios of Costa Rica

Fighting Human Trafficking a Critical Part of U.S. Foreign Policy

U.S. hopes to cultivate more public-private partnerships to fight slavery

Washington — The Obama administration views the fight against human trafficking, both at home and abroad, as a critical part of the U.S. foreign policy agenda, says Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

At a June 16 event at the State Department marking the release of the ninth annual Trafficking in Persons Report, Clinton emphasized the need for more public-private partnerships to fight the scourge of modern-day slavery.

 “The criminal network that enslaves millions of people crosses borders and spans continents,” Clinton said, “so our response must do the same.”

 “We are committed to working with all nations collaboratively,” the secretary said...

The secretary also made the announcement that the State Department will rank the United States in its report to be released next year, even though the U.S. Department of Justice releases an annual report focused exclusively on the trafficking problem as it exists inside the United States…

Ambassador Luis C. de Baca, director of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons... himself a federal prosecutor who has worked many trafficking cases, noted that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime recently released its own report on global human trafficking and found that two out of every five countries have yet to achieve a single conviction of a human trafficker. “Prosecutions can be a blunt tool, but they do matter” in deterring traffickers, he said.

Heroes Honored

In addition to a number of U.S. senators and House members, two anti-trafficking activists were present at the June 16 State Department event: Mariliana Morales Berrios of Costa Rica and Vera Lesko of Albania. 

Yasmine Alotaibi

America.gov

June 16, 2009

Public Awareness a Major Weapon in Fighting Human Trafficking

Washington — Around the world, people desperate for employment often find themselves tricked by human traffickers. An estimated 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders each year. Millions more are trafficked within their own countries.

This problem does not go overlooked by everyone, as some everyday heroes from a variety of nations take steps to end modern-day slavery...

For example, Canadian Benjamin Perrin founded The Future Group, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) committed to fighting human trafficking and the child-sex trade. By bringing together a team from across Canada, The Future Group works with foreign governments, other NGOs and businesses to address human trafficking and other global issues such as HIV/AIDS…

Costa Rican Woman a Pioneer in Anti-Trafficking Programs

…Over the last year, the Costa Rican government has made progress in addressing human trafficking crimes and helping victims. The government recently launched prevention campaigns as well as training efforts for government and law enforcement officials. Also, the government has begun to provide more victim assistance, although prosecution of human traffickers remains lacking.

Before the government began such efforts, Mariliana Morales Berrios was already fighting to protect trafficking victims. In 1997, she created the Rahab Foundation to help victims and their families find a new life, keeping the program running despite limited resources. Although she and her staff frequently face threats and attacks, they continue to help trafficking victims escape from their captors. In fact, since its founding, the Rahab Foundation has helped more than 3,000 victims and also trained more than 5,000 government leaders, law enforcement officials and tourism workers on human trafficking issues...

For these efforts, Perrin and Morales are being recognized by the U.S. Department of State in its annual report on human trafficking…

Yasmine Alotaibi

America.gov

June 16, 2009


Added: June 20, 2009

Mexico

Child Sex Tourism Growing in Border Cities Like Juárez, Report Says

Child sex tourism continues to grow in Mexican northern border cities like Tijuana and Juárez, according to a U.S. State Department report.

"Foreign child sex tourists arrive most often from the United States, Canada, and Western Europe," the report said.

People from Mexico also are trafficked into the United States for commercial sexual exploitation. Besides the northern border cities, the report said Cancun and Acapulco were popular child sex tourism destinations.

Each year, as many as 20,000 children are sexually exploited in these urban centers, officials said.

"Mexican men, women, and children (also) are trafficked into the United States for forced labor, particularly in agriculture and industrial sweatshops," the report said.

The U.S. federal government said corruption and lax enforcement were to blame for few human-trafficking prosecutions in Mexico.

The U.S. State Department released "The 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report" on Tuesday, and on Wednesday Mexican authorities announced the arrest of a Mexican federal immigration official assigned to Mexico City's airport on suspicion of human-trafficking.

Last week authorities in Costa Rica said they were investigating the trafficking of its citizens in Mexico.

Diana Washington Valdez

El Paso Times

June 18, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Mexico

"IMPUNITY" - Women victims of Police Assault at Atenco Protest at FEVIMTRA offices

"Women are not the Spoils of War!"

Exigen atenquenses a fiscalía agilizar juicios contra policías

Habitantes de San Salvador Atenco, particularmente 11 de las 26 mujeres que denunciaron haber sido víctimas de violencia sexual, física y sicológica por policías los días 3 y 4 de mayo de 2006 en ese municipio mexiquense, exigieron a la Fiscalía Especializada en Delitos Violentos cometidos contra Mujeres y Trata de Personas (Fevimtra) que ya consigne la averiguación previa que abrió y ejercite acción penal contra todos los uniformados que participaron en los acontecimientos, con el propósito de que sean sancionados por acción u omisión…

Women Victims of Sexual Violence at 2006 Atenco Protest March Demand That Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes Against Women Expedite Proceedings Against Accused Policemen

Inhabitants of [the Mexico City suburb of] San Salvador Atenco, including 11 of the 26 women who reported being physically, psychologically and sexually abused by [male] police officers on May 3rd and 4th of 2006, have demanded that the [federal] Special Prosecutor's Office for Violent Crimes Committed Against Women, and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA) act upon the results of their preliminary investigation in the case, and bring the actors to justice for their actions and acts of omission.

During a demonstration in front of the offices of FEVIMTRA in Mexico City, the activists indicated that, "the Mexican authorities have once again demonstrated their inefficiency in prosecuting and punishing those responsible for the serious violations human rights that were committed in San Salvador Atenco. They were referring specifically to the fact that just recently, the only police officer to have been tried, convicted and sentenced for the assaults against women at Atenco was pardoned...

Full English Translation

Gustavo Castillo

La Jornada

June 17, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

Mexican Federal, State and Local Police Rape and Assault 26 Women Protesters in Atenco, Mexico - May 3/4, 2006


Added: June 19, 2009

Mexico

20000 Migrants a Year Kidnapped in Mexico En Route to US

Some 20,000 of the 140,000 illegal migrants en route to the United States via the Mexico border to find work and a better life are kidnapped each year and subjected to rape, torture and murder, crimes that usually go unpunished due to the corruption of the authorities, fear of reprisals and distrust of authorities, according to Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission.

Mexico City – More than 1,600 migrants, above all Central Americans en route to the United States to find work, are kidnapped monthly and subjected to humiliations that usually go unpunished due to the corruption of the authorities, Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission reported.

“The kidnapping of migrants has become a continuous practice of worrying dimensions, generally unpunished and with characteristics of extreme cruelty,” commission chairman Jose Luis Soberanes said Monday at the presentation of the report.

Between September 2008 and February 2009, the commission registered a total of 198 cases of mass kidnappings of migrants involving 9,758 people.

Motivated by the yearning to begin a new life in the United States, each year some 140,000 people cross Mexico’s southern border intending to traverse the country and then cross the U.S. border, according to official figures.

To achieve their dream, the migrants have to travel thousands of kilometers with hardly any money and trusting unknown people who promise to help them, but there exists a risk that they will be betrayed and wind up in the hands of people-trafficking networks.

Upon presenting its report on the kidnappings of migrants, the rights commission called attention to their “high vulnerability” and denounced the fact that the practice “is on the increase.”

The document prepared by the panel includes many shocking testimonials, like that of a Salvadoran woman who was locked up and raped numerous times during the 48 hours she was held.

Finally, the young woman was freed because her family, who lives in the United States, gave in to the threats of her abductors and paid part of the $4,500 they demanded as ransom.

“But my companion didn’t have anyone to help her and so they shot her and let her bleed to death in front of me to intimidate me,” the woman said...

The kidnappings are committed mainly by organized bands whose members remain unpunished for the crimes because their victims do not report them since they don’t know their rights, they are afraid of reprisals and don’t trust the Mexican authorities, which, according to the commission report, are complicit with the criminals in at least 1 percent of the cases.

Victims are usually kidnapped in groups along certain stretches of the railroad lines in southern Mexico, where migrants commonly hop on northbound freight trains.

The commission had to move Monday’s presentation of the report to a different office after receiving a bomb threat – which turned out to be false – at the original venue.

The threat, according to Soberanes, was a “message” from the “bands interested in having impunity continue” for their crimes.

EFE

June 17, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Guyana

Guyana will not prosecute people for trafficking in personss just to satisfy the US, says minister

Georgetown, Guyana - Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Priya Manickchand, has lashed out at the United States of America’s rating of Guyana for its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report by the US State Department which places Guyana on Tier 2 watch list.

“Guyana objects completely to being placed on the Tier 2 watch list...we do not believe that we have trafficking on the scale that should attract the attention of the US, the report is inaccurate in some of its assertions: it did not given us (government) credit for all that has been done,” she stated...

“We prosecute every person who can be prosecuted under the Act who would have committed acts of trafficking, what we do not have is a large number of convictions. We cannot dictate what the courts do, we do recognize that there are some weaknesses in the entire judicial system in terms of how long matters take to pass through the system and in that regard, the government is at present engaged in improving the entire justice system through the Justice Sector Reform Strategy,” she explained.

GINA / Caribbean Net News

June 18, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

United States

Human Trafficking Rises in Recession

This particularly gory testimony, used by the US State Department to highlight the severity and widespread nature of human trafficking, is one of many alarming personal accounts included in their 2009 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.

Time Magazine

June 18, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Jamaica

Jamaica cited for inadequate anti-human trafficking measures

Jamaica has again been ranked as a tier two country for human trafficking by the US State Department which has cited inadequate efforts to prosecute trafficking offenses and protect victims. In its ninth annual Trafficking in Persons Report released ...

RadioJamaica.com

June 18, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Costa Rica

Mejora en la lucha contra trata de personas

Costa Rica se supera en la lucha contra la trata de personas, según un informe del Departamento de Estado de los Estados Unidos.

Costa Rica has improved its standing in the 2009 U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report. (Translation to follow)

Telatica.com

June 17, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The United States

Alerta de que la -esclavitud moderna- está aumentando por la crisis

El Gobierno de EEUU amplió la lista de países con crecientes problemas de tráfico humano de 40 en 2008 a 52 este año, en que ha incluido a Nicaragua, Irak, Filipinas, Antillas Holandesas y los Emiratos Arabes Unidos.

U.S. Government: Modern slavery is increasing during the current economic crisis.

www.ABC.es

June 16, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Colombia

Autoridades desmantelan banda de trata de personas y detienen a 69 personas

En más de 60 allanamientos fueron detenidos 52 hombres y 17 mujeres de la red que solicitaba damas de entre 18 y 25 años de edad en avisos clasificados en los diarios y les ofrecía trabajo en bares y restaurantes y altos ingresos, para luego obligarlas a prostituirse.

Authorities in Colombia dismantle sex trafficking ring and free 69 women between the ages of 18 and 25. (Translation to follow)

http://web.presidencia.gov.co

June 16, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Canada

Penalties for sex trafficking in Canada lax - US report

Vancouver, British Columbia - A US report on human trafficking says Canada has the laws needed to prosecute human traffickers and sex tourists, but the penalties dished out by the courts are lax...

KBS Radio

June 16, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The Dominican Republic

Washington: people trafficking still occurs Dominican Republic

The State Department's annual report, first under president Barack Obama's Administration, extends the list of countries with increasing human trafficking problems, from 40 in 2008 to 52 this year, among them Nicaragua, Iraq, the Philippine ...

Dominican Today

June 16, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The Vatican

Pope Praises "Courageous Commitment" of Religious Against Human Trafficking

Pope Benedict has lauded the “courageous commitment in defense of human life” of religious sisters involved in helping victims of human trafficking. The Pope's praise was contained in a telegram sent Sister Louise Madore, President ...

Vatican Radio

June 15, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Latin America

Sub-Regional Operations Profile - Latin America

In Central America and Mexico, efforts to improve border security, guard against terrorism and counter human and drug trafficking have led to stricter controls on the movements of undocumented migrants. ...

UNHCR (press release)

June 15, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Utah, USA

Human trafficking underground in Utah communities

But even in Utah, human trafficking, one of the world's top three most profitable hidden industries, has reared its ugly head. Dewayne Hopkins, a 27-year-old Salt Lake City resident pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking ...

BYU Newsnet

June 15, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Georgia, USA

Sex-trafficking fight goes beyond streets

Teenage prostitutes, according to a mayor's report on child sex trafficking, had begun working within a few steps of the familiar inscription from Matthew on the church's wall: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you ...

Atlanta Journal Constitution

June 14, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Nevada, USA

March Calls For End To Child Sex Slavery

The group Shared Hope International partnered with Canyon Christian Church for the event, drawing attention to the disturbing crime of human trafficking. A candlelight vigil was also held after the march. ...

Fox5 KVVU

June 13, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Latin America

OAS Assistant Secretary General: “the Future of Inter-Americ ...

In terms of the challenges, Ramdin offered that “there are still pending bilateral tensions and outstanding disputes among member countries” and that many of the traditional issues such as drugs and arms trafficking, discrimination, food security ...

ISRIA

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The Vatican

Women religious organize conference to combat 'new form of slavery'

This morning at the Vatican's press office, organizers announced a forthcoming congress on the theme: “Female Religious in Network against Trafficking of Persons.” The congress will focus on fighting and preventing human trafficking...

Catholic News Agency

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The Vatican

Women's religious orders vow to extend anti-human trafficking programs

Vatican City – With the global financial crisis and the increased desperation of the poor, human trafficking appears to be on the increase and the International Union of Superiors General is committed to extending its networks to fight ...

Cindy Wooden

The Catholic Review

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The Vatican

Religious Sisters Speak Out Against Human Trafficking

Religious sisters say they will not remain silent about the horrors of human trafficking. Here in Rome this week, the International Union of Superior Generals of women religious and the International organization for migration ...

Vatican Radio

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Mexico

Tlaxcala Diary

Fair Haven’s Father Jim Manship blogged his recent trip to Mexico. His second entry follows.

…Part of the presentation at the Center of Human Rights in Tlaxcala included a discussion of increased exploitation of women and girls — a very dangerous topic, as there is a large quantity of money associated with the sex trade. Exposing the sex trade has led to death threats against members of the Center of Human Rights. Influences of “machismo” in the culture, that is to say the domination of women by men, feed the tacit approval of this exploitation. Corruption has caused authorities to look the other way. Because the traffickers are not preying supposedly on local women and girls, there exists the attitude “It’s OK” because the victims are not from the area…

Traveling through a small town in Tlaxcala that is the notorious center for those involved in the trafficking of women and girls for the sex trade, one can see huge houses being erected in the middle of very humble neighborhoods. Such ostentatious expenditures signal those who are benefiting from the misery and enslavement of young women and girls. The traffickers and their families enjoy luxury cars and one purportedly has even begun purchasing buses to start a “legitimate” transportation company.

Those directly and indirectly involved in the trafficking of these women and girls have found it quite lucrative. The “dirty money” is plentiful. And I dare say, with the major disruption of the other source of “dirty money,” the Mexican drug trade, the exploitation of the immigrant women and girls, will sadly continue to increase.

New Haven Independent

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Mexico

Trafficking law aims to protect Mexican minors

...More than 8,000 children... come to the United States alone each year; many are seeking safe haven from human rights abuses, domestic violence and trafficking. When they are caught, they are put in immigration proceedings to decide whether they can stay or must return home. More than half of these children, some of whom are remarkably young, must face these proceedings without the help of a lawyer or guardian. The U.S. government does not provide people in immigration proceedings — even children — with a lawyer, even though the government is represented by a lawyer. Children who have viable claims are often not able to present them and are sent home, where their well-being, even their lives, may be in danger...

The good news is that more vulnerable children will have access to free lawyers and other basic protections thanks to the passage of a law that for the first time requires that children’s well-being be considered foremost by officials who pick them up entering the United States. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 says that when children come here without documents and without a parent or legal guardian, officials are to act according to the best interests of the child — and not according to an archaic and outdated system that was never designed to handle children.

The law requires the government to facilitate the representation of children by pro bono attorneys in the private sector. This opens the door to innovative public/private partnerships at no cost to the government that will make a real difference in these children’s lives.

Now the law needs to be fully implemented and the government needs to do its part. It must institute procedures that give children a fair opportunity to share their experiences of abuse and trauma. Judges and lawyers must be trained so that they don’t inadvertently cause children more trauma. Imagine being a young teenager and having to tell lawyers and a judge who you have never met your story of being sold to traffickers...

Nogales International

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Canada

World Vision targets child trafficking

The World Vision report urges greater recognition and criminalization of all human trafficking activities, many of which it says are tolerated by communities, overlooked by authorities and even sanctioned by families...

Mississauga

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Costa Rica - Mexico

Rosa María Casanova Maya, using the Alias "Rosi", was detained by Mexican officials for heading the human trafficking ring and pimping.

Ticas Say They Were Duped Into Traveling To Mexico Then Forced ...

Following up on the actions of Mexican authorities, Costa Rican authorities quickly moved to open an investigation into an alleged human trafficking ring that young Costa Rican women duped into traveling to Mexico, in the hopes of earning big money ...

Inside Costa Rica

June 12, 2009


Added: June 18, 2009

United States

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's press conference presenting the 2009 Trafficking in Persons report

Cuban-American Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen speaks at 2009 TIP report release press conference

US State Department releases its 2009 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "Today, the State Department releases our annual report on trafficking in persons. It underscores the need to address the root causes of trafficking, including poverty, lax law enforcement, and the exploitation of women. The Trafficking Report is not an indictment of past failures, but a guide for future progress. ...With this report, we hope to shine the light brightly on the scope and scale of modern slavery so all governments can see where progress has been made and where more is needed..."

Video of Secretary Clinton's press conference presenting the 2009 TIP report

Full transcript of presenter's remarks

The 2009 US State Department Trafficking in Persons Report - Index

Opinion-editorial essay by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

U.S. Department of State

June 16, 2009

U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Office director ambassador Luis C. de Baca delivers press briefing on the 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report

[This year's TIP finds a 30% increase in countries listed in the 'Tier 2 Watch List']

"...The International Labor Organization issued a report, The Cost of Coercion, about six weeks or – excuse me, about a month ago, and in that report the ILO estimated about 12.3 million people being held in bondage worldwide, of whom they estimated about 1.5 million are for sexual slavery, sexual servitude, which is perhaps a little bit counterintuitive to what people have seen the modern slavery or the human trafficking problem as, historically. Certainly, press accounts, what you see in movies, what you see in mass culture, tends to define this as a problem of people being moved to prostitution, people perhaps being kidnapped into prostitution. Rather, what we see, what the UNODC has reported on in their trafficking report earlier this year, and what the ILO is reporting on, is the notion that people are being enslaved, whether it is for prostitution, whether it is in labor, agriculture, factories, fields, domestic service, that they are often entering into the relationship voluntarily and then becoming enslaved within that..."

"...At the end of the day, though, it’s not about administrative responses, it’s not about structural responses; it’s about the fact that this is a crime. It is one of the most serious crimes that is out there. The slavery and involuntary servitude that the traffickers hold their victims in is something that cannot simply be remedied by having different immigration structures, by having labor inspectors, by having different policies about various things. Rather, it can only be dealt with by investigating and prosecuting the people who dare to do this.

And so we certainly stand ready, not just abroad but also at home, for those countries who would like to engage, for those countries who are willing to do the same type of self-assessment that we did in the Attorney General’s report which was also released today, where we look at what are the strengths, what are the weaknesses of the United States Government’s response. For those countries who are willing to engage in that type of partnership, the trafficking office here at the State Department, the Justice Department and the rest of the U.S. Government stands ready to partner...

Video of TIP Office Director Luis C. de Baca's press briefing

U.S. Department of State

June 16, 2009


Added: June 17, 2009

Mexico

"My body is mine, and I decide."

Photo: CIMAC

Cifras evidencian atropello a derechos SyR de las mexicanas

Aunque discurso oficial asegura respetarlos

México DF - Sin rumbo ni congruencia, la administración de Felipe Calderón propone en el discurso respetar la libre decisión de las personas sobre el número y espaciamiento de sus hijas e hijos y dotarlas de los medios para que así sea, pero en la práctica criminaliza a las mujeres que se atreven a ejercer sus derechos sexuales y reproductivos, como interrumpir legalmente un embarazo (ILE) o usar métodos anticonceptivos que eviten la implantación del óvulo, como el dispositivo intrauterino (DIU)...

Although official discourse ensures respect, statistics show that individual reproductive rights are abused

Mexico City - Lacking a clear and consistent policy, Mexican president Felipe Calderón states in his public discourse that he respects the right of individuals to freely choose number and spacing of their children, and is willing to provide them with adequate means to do so. In practice, the Calderón administration criminalizes women who dare to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights by either choosing to have an abortion or by using the intrauterine device (IUD) as a form of birth control.

...[Thirteen]... states have criminalized the use of intrauterine device (IUD) and emergency anti-contraception as "for being considered to be methods of abortion, contrary to scientific evidence.

International agencies like the the United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA) and the Committee of Experts of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), among others, have insisted that a larger access to contraception will reduce the [high] levels of death during childbirth [especially in rural and indigenous areas]…

Despite the goal established in the PNP that the workers in health institutions be trained in the application of the NOM on family planning, and apply it in a strict sense, the reality is that these health workers put their moral beliefs, religious and ethical decisions first in their interactions with individual women.

This is according to Carlos Echarri, a researcher at El Colegio de Mexico. His research paper entitled Key Issues, Needs and Obstacles to Reproductive Health Care, addresses this issue.

The report states: "Through the institutionalization of the control of fertility by involving health institutions, staff have [actively] intervened to interfere with reproductive health decision that are completely private. Health center staff [impose their personal] values, norms and practices on the private topic of sexuality."

Extended translation

Lourdes Godinez Leal

June 16 09 (CIMAC)


Added: June 16, 2009

United States -

The World

Melanne Verveer - US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues

Remarks at Swearing-in Ceremony of the Honorable Melanne Verveer as Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues

Secretary Clinton: …Melanne is most famous for the unwavering passion she brings to her causes. And for the last 15 years, that cause has been women and girls; their rights, their opportunities, their central importance to the future of our world’s progress and prosperity.

The absolute commitment she has always shown to giving voice to the voiceless, and making sure that the stories of everyday heroes and heroines would be known to a broader audience. She helped to launch the Vital Voices Democracy Initiative more than a decade ago, and she nurtured it and helped it to grow into what it is today. In the past eight years, she turned a government program into a global NGO, and the results of that work are ones that I encounter everywhere I travel on behalf of the United States. And she particularly helped to lead our commitment to end the intolerable scourge, the global crime of human trafficking.

So I was pretty lucky that Melanne was willing to accept this nomination to be our first ever ambassador on behalf on the issues and the causes and the women and girls that she has worked for so many years. She’s exactly the kind of diplomat that we need in the 21st century to exercise what we call smart power. And I am so pleased that the President agreed with me that there wasn’t any other choice for this job…

Video of Melanne Verveer's swearing in ceremony

Hillary Rodham Clinton

US Secretary of State

June 12, 2009

See also:

Melanne Verveer on Human Trafficking

Verveer has called human trafficking, which disproportionately affects women, one of the most important women’s issues she will address. "We need to elevate the race against human trafficking to the Grand Prix level, with Formula One-quality vehicles, sponsors and fuel. We simply can't stay in the slow lane for another ten years," she said in a 2007 interview.

She has long been an advocate of protecting women from trafficking. While working in the Clinton White House, she heard stories of networks that took women from their homes and “sunk them into a nightmare.” These stories inspired her to push for the 2000 Trafficking in Persons Act, which demanded an annual report on the state of human trafficking around the world.

As ambassador, Verveer will work with the Department's Trafficking in Persons Office to address trafficking in three ways: prevention, protection, and prosecution, all of which must be worked on together to be successful.. She has also called on the U.S. to work more closely with NGOs, international-law organizations and the business community to address the underlying problems that give rise to trafficking, including lack of opportunity and worker exploitation.

WhoRunsGov.com

May, 2009

See also:

Guatemala

Rosa Lacan Petzey

Vital Voices: Rising Voices of Guatemala

At age eight Rosa Lacan Petzey left home to seek work to support her family. For eleven years she worked away from home for meager pay, living with surrogate mothers. Her 14 hour workday left no time to study or to play. She lost her chance to enjoy childhood. 

Rosa’s story is common in Guatemala, a country recovering from a 36-year civil war that claimed more than 100,000 lives and displaced over 1 million refugees. The devastation wrought by the conflict permeates Guatemalan society, especially for young indigenous rural women.

At age 22 Rosa defies all expectations - she is an educated, single woman in unwavering pursuit of a focused professional goal - advocacy for reproductive health. As part of a Population Council program, she works with girls under pressure to drop out of school. Recounting her job, Rosa tells stories of smart, ambitious girls unable to pay school tuition, who reluctantly decide to enter the sex trade to pay for their fees.

Rosa sees herself as a mentor for vulnerable young women, someone who can inform, counsel and empathize with them. “Parents say the girls need to marry, because they don’t have the means to keep them at home.” As someone who went to work and back to school, Rosa challenges parents to see the potential in their daughters that she saw in herself.

Vital Voices selected Rosa to attend Rising Voices: Unleashing Young Women’s Economic Potential, a collaboration between Vital Voices and the World Bank Group supported by the Nike Foundation...

Student Fellow Megan Abbot

Vital Voices

LibertadLatina Commentary:

We congratulate Melanne Verveer upon her swearing-in as US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. We look forward to seeing serious efforts to defeat human trafficking and slavery during the Obama Administration. As Ambassador Verveer stated in 2007: "We need to elevate the race against human trafficking to the Grand Prix level, with Formula One-quality vehicles, sponsors and fuel. We simply can't stay in the slow lane for another ten years,"

Agreed! Full speed ahead!!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 16, 2009


Added: June 15, 2009

Mexico

trabajo infantil

Child Labor

México: nueve años de incumplimiento con niñez trabajadora

Ni Plan Nacional ni definición de trabajos peligrosos

México DF - Hoy, Día Mundial contra el trabajo infantil, México cumple nueve años de haber adoptado el  Convenio 182 de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT), que responde a la necesidad de erradicar las peores formas de trabajo infantil, sin que haya adoptado, como se comprometió, un Plan Nacional de Acción y la determinación de los trabajos peligrosos para la infancia y su identificación geográfica.

Por ello, Jorge Hidalgo, de la organización Caminos Posibles, señala que en estos últimos nueve años de gobierno del Partido Acción Nacional (PAN), sólo se ha visto un retroceso de 15 ó 20 años en la problemática de trabajo infantil, porque no hay una política por favorecer los derechos de la infancia.

Mexico: Nine Years of Non-compliance with its Commitment to End Child Labor

Neither the Creation of a National Plan of Action nor the identification of dangerous jobs, both required by ILO Convention 182, have been carried out by Mexico

Mexico City- Today, on the World Day Against Child Labor, Mexico has passed its ninth anniversary since having adopted Convention 182 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), which addresses the need to eradicate the worst forms of child labor. However, Mexico has failed to fulfill its commitment to draft a National Action Plan and to define categories of hazardous work for children, and to map the locations there these types of work are carried out.

Therefore, Jorge Hidalgo, of the organization Caminos Posibles [Possible Paths], said that during the past nine years of government of the National Action Party [Partido Acción Nacional - PAN], has set back progress on eliminating child labor by 15 or 20 years, because they have no policy to promote children's rights.

Mexican children form part of the global statistics issued by the ILO showing that 100 million [underage] girls are working, or 46% of the total children working. Twenty percent of those girls are under 12 years old. It is estimated that 53% of them engage in dangerous forms of work...

The Mexican Context

Jorge Garcia Hidalgo noted that, according to official figures reported in 2007, 3,647,000 Mexican children engage in some occupation other than going to school. Of these, 67 percent are boys and 33 percent are girls. Some 67% are youth between the ages of 14 and 17.

The study indicates that the majority of children work in a family business with or without pay. Thirty eight percent of working children work in agriculture. Fifty two percent of them began working between the ages of 7 and 10.

According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), in 2005 there were 1,630,185 domestic workers. Ten percent were under age 18, although only youth between 14 and 17 were counted in the survey.

According to [the social services consulting firm] Thais Social Development, it is estimated that 68 percent of girls who work in Mexico are engaged in domestic service...

The ILO, in this Day, calls for policy responses to tackle the causes of child labor, paying attention to the situation of girls, as well as urgent measures to eradicate the worst forms of child labor and attention to the need for education and professional formation for adolescents.

Full English Translation

Narce Santibañez Alejandre

CIMAC Noticias

June 12, 2009


Added: June 14, 2009

Wisconsin, USA

International Labor Organization's Campaign "Give Girls a Chance"

World Day Against Child Labor: Mexican Foreign Ministry releases report detailing Mexican children traveling to US alone are looking for work

…The global community observes World Day Against Child Labor

Begun in 2002 by the International Labor Organization, this year's theme is "Give Girls a Chance -- End Child Labor."

According to ILO estimates, of the 218 million child laborers worldwide, 100 million are girls. More than half of those girls are exposed to hazardous work in a variety of sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, mining, domestic services and commercial sexual exploitation. In many cases, work performed by girls is hidden from the public eye, leaving the girls vulnerable to physical danger and abuse.

Girls are often forced to carry a double burden by contributing significantly to their own households' chores, including child care, as well as undertaking other employment outside of their homes.

…Recently, the Mexican Foreign Ministry compiled a report entitled 2008 Report of the Repatriation of Unaccompanied Minors. (In Spanish)

The report found that over 17,000 children from 0-17 were captured along the US-Mexico border by US authorities. The overwhelming reason that these children gave for coming to the United States was to work.

Some of the other major findings:

* 83 percent of the youth captured were boys, while 17 percent were girls.

* The main destination state for the children was California followed by Texas, Arizona, New York, Illinois and Florida.

* The majority of children were found to be between 12 and 17-years old…

* Of the children captured, 26 percent were indigenous mixteco.

This study by the Mexican government illustrates that there does exist a need by these children to work to help their families. Seeing that these are the ones who were caught, it stands to reason that many more escaped capture.

The more troubling thought is where are these other children and what are they doing?

One answer is certain -- they are in the United States.

Are they at the mercy of human traffickers and being prostituted out to satisfy the demented needs of a sick demographic? Probably.

Are they being forced to work in slave-like conditions with no or very little pay and no freedom? Most likely?

Have they sacrificed their childhoods to help their families? Yes.

Are they lost forever between two countries? Hopefully, not.

Though most of these children do disappear into the underworld of this nation, they do come up for air sometimes. It's up to all of us to be cognizant and question why a young person would be working in a particular situation or under certain conditions or be with a questionable group of people…

Marisa Treviño - Blogger

LatinaLista.com

June 12, 2009


Added: June 14, 2009

The World / El Mundo

Select to magnify the image

Día mundial 2009: Demos una oportunidad a las niñas: Erradique-mos el trabajo infantil

AEl Día mundial contra el trabajo infantil se conmemorará el 12 de junio de 2009. Este año, el Día mundial marcará el décimo aniversario de la adopción del simbólico Convenio núm. 182 de la OIT que responde a la necesidad de erradicar las peores formas de trabajo infantil. A la vez que celebrará los progresos logrados en los últimos diez años, el Día mundial pondrá de relieve los retos que aún subsisten, haciendo hincapié en la explotación de las niñas en el trabajo infantil.

Se estima que hay en el mundo unos 100 millones de niñas víctimas del trabajo infantil. Muchas de ellas realizan trabajos similares a los que desempeñan los niños, pero también suelen sobrellevar dificultades adicionales y enfrentarse a diferentes peligros. Además, las niñas están también expuestas a algunas de las peores formas de trabajo infantil, habitualmente en situaciones de trabajo encubierto...

Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT)

World Day 2009: Give Girls a Chance: End Child Labor

The World Day Against Child Labor will be celebrated on 12 June 2009. The World Day this year marks the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the landmark ILO Convention No. 182, which addresses the need for action to tackle the worst forms of child labor. Whilst celebrating progress made during the past ten years, the World Day will highlight the continuing challenges, with a focus on exploitation of girls in child labor.

Around the world, an estimated 100 million girls are involved in child labor. Many of these girls undertake similar types of work as boys, but often also endure additional hardships and face extra risks. Moreover, girls are all too often exposed to some of the worst forms of child labor, often in hidden work situations.

International Labor Organization (ILO)

June 12, 2009


Added: June 14, 2009

Wisconsin, USA

Dr. Jefferson Calimlim Sr. and his wife, Dr.  Elnora Calimlim

Milwaukee couple each sentenced to six years in prison for forcing a woman to work as their domestic servant for 19 years

Milwaukee - A Brookfield, Wis., couple who kept a domestic servant in their home under conditions of servitude for nearly two decades was re-sentenced in federal court Tuesday to six years in prison. This sentence resulted from a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the FBI.

Jefferson Calimlim Sr. and his wife, Elnora, both medical doctors in Milwaukee, were each sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa, Eastern District of Wisconsin, to six years in prison for forcing a woman to work as their domestic servant and illegally harboring her for 19 years in their Brookfield home…

According to evidence presented at trial, Jefferson Calimlim Sr. and his wife recruited and brought the victim from the Philippines to the U.S. in 1985 when she was 19 years old. In September 2004, ICE and FBI agents removed the victim, then age 38, from the Calimlim's Brookfield residence through the execution of a federal search warrant. The victim testified that for 19 years she was hidden in the Calimlim's home, forbidden from going outside, and told that she would be arrested, imprisoned and deported if she were discovered. She was not allowed to socialize, communicate freely with the outside world, or leave the house unsupervised, and she was required to hide in her basement bedroom whenever non-family members were present in the house.

"Today's sentence is a testament to our solemn commitment to protect those who cannot protect themselves," said James Gibbons, acting special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago. "Many people are unaware that this form of modern day slavery still occurs in the United States. The victims can be domestic servants, sweat shop employees, sex workers or fruit pickers who are lured here by the promise of prosperity and forced to work as indentured servants. ICE is committed to giving them the help they need to come forward as we work to end human trafficking with vigorous enforcement and tough penalties..."

U.S. ICE

June 9, 2009


Added: June 14, 2009

United States

Officials Want a Change in Law to Shut Down Safe Houses Used in Human-Trafficking Schemes

Washington, DC - The Obama administration and Senator Chuck Schumer want to step up pressure on human-trafficking operations by taking away their safe houses.

Schumer announced plans Wednesday to propose legislation to allow federal agents to seize houses if they can prove the buildings were used by smugglers to shelter illegal immigrants temporarily.

Under current law, the home owner must be convicted of a smuggling-related offense before prosecutors can seize the safe house.

Officials say taking safe houses out of play could disrupt many smuggling operations. Federal law allows prosecutors to seize houses in drug cases, money laundering and child pornography, but not for human smuggling.

"This policy needs to be fixed right away," Schumer, D-N.Y., said after a meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. "It can put a serious dent in the operations of the Mexican cartels that deal in human trafficking..."

Eileen Sullivan

The Associated Proess

June 10, 2009


Added: June 12, 2009

Guatemala

Rigoberta Menchú Mum, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner and an indigenous political leader

Guatemala’s Neglected Story: Continued Disregard for Indigenous Autonomy

Indigenous peoples are still violently suppressed when they voice any opposition to foreign multi-national investment operations

Gaining strength, the country’s Indigenous movement is a much needed tool for securing equal rights

…Continued Repression and Impunity

In 1996, the Guatemalan government and the combined guerrilla forces functioning under the moniker, Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (UNRG), signed the Peace Accords that brought an end to more than 30 years of a bloody civil war. Guatemala’s internal conflict resulted in the death of close to 200,000 people, many of whom were indigenous campesinos caught in the crossfire of the warring factions’ violent ideologies. Many more were kidnapped, tortured and never heard from again. Claims that indigenous communities were easily manipulated and recruited by leftist guerrillas were used as excuses for the systematic ethnic cleansing by rightist death squads in what the Guatemalan Commission of Historical Clarification (set up by the UN as part of the Accord of Oslo ) deemed to be genocide. Those who participated in creating the infrastructure which indirectly led to the indiscriminate killings in indigenous communities did not only include Guatemalan authorities, but also foreign entities with roles to play in the country, such as the World Bank and the Inter–American Development Bank.

In the 1980s, civilian paramilitaries, sanctioned by the government, cleared the way for the construction of the World Bank-financed Chixoy Dam by eradicating the indigenous opposition it had attracted. This has become known as the Rio Negro massacre, a tragedy that left hundreds [of women and children raped and] dead…

The indigenous movement lay semi-dormant for a number of years, until the recent election of Bolivia’s Evo Morales, the first indigenous leader in Latin America, raised expectations among Guatemala’s underrepresented community. This prompted a 2006 statement by Rigoberta Menchú Mum, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner and an indigenous leader, to announce that she would pursue the presidency in the 2007 election.

Menchú’s presidential bid that year proved to be a fiasco, as she gained only about 3 percent of the vote. The meager figure can be attributed to the fact she was an ineffective campaigner, but also that indigenous people are still “largely outside the country’s political, economic, social, and cultural mainstream due to limited educational opportunities, widespread poverty, lack of awareness of their rights, and pervasive discrimination.” Another impediment was her inability to connect with indigenous communities. However, Menchú later returned to the political scene by announcing that she was collaborating in the creation of a new political party in Guatemala, WINAQ (meaning “people,” or “humanity” in Quichua), in an effort to gain the executive seat in 2012. After gathering the 17,000 affiliates needed to register as a legitimate political party, WINAQ was established in 2008, and its representatives stated that it had close to 40,000 members. According to Barbara Schieber, contributor to Guatemala Times, this was “one of the most important steps ever achieved by a Mayan political leader in Guatemala.”

WINAQ has made it a point not to claim that it is an exclusively indigenous party, which, if it had done so, would perhaps alienate much of the rest of the population. Gregorio Canil, spokesman for WINAQ, states that the party is constructed as a “political tool for the expression of the needs of the four villages in Guatemala: Maya, Ladino, Garifuna and Xinca...”

Today, indigenous leaders and local activists are routinely faced with threats of assassination and cases of intimidation that are met with inadequate investigations or total indifference by the authorities. Death squads have re-emerged, which are hired to survey indigenous lands scheduled for exploiting by foreign enterprises. The 1996 Peace Accords set the international community at ease by declaring an end to the civil war that had decimated the Central American country for over three decades, but it became obvious that such optimism was unwarranted and that the treaty did not bring an end to the violence…

…In Guatemala, hostility and racism towards indigenous groups is manifested by political exclusion. The unvoiced consensus among the powerful Europeanized minority remains that although the indigenous population is substantial, its political representation should remain marginalized…

Research Associate Billy Lemus

Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA)

June 9th, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

About the Sexual Exploitation with Impunity of Especially Indigenous Women and Children in Guatemala

...The Río Negro massacre occurred after an indigenous community at Río Negro refused to relocate and make way for the Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam, a massive government energy project supported by The World Bank. After 74 villagers were killed in February 1982, most of the men fled to the hills. Early on March 13, 1982, army soldiers and a civil patrol from the nearby village of Xococ arrived at Río Negro, and murdered 177 women and children. Many of the victims were raped and tortured...

See also:

The women of Rio Negro [the town of Black River], some of them pregnant, were dragged from their homes, forced to march to the top of a mountain, and there, along with their children, were raped, tortured and killed.

Ana, a survivor...

"The soldiers and (paramilitary civil defense) patrollers started grabbing the girls and raping us."

"Only two soldiers raped me because my grandmother was there to defend me. All the girls were raped."

In total, 177 women and children died that day [in 1982].

CERIGUA Weekly

Jennifer Harbury

DEC. 11, 1997


Added: June 12, 2009

Guatemala

Maquilas en Guatemala, discriminación y esclavitud para mujeres

Dos décadas de violación a las normas laborales y Derechos Humanos

Guatemala - En las maquilas está prohibido embarazarse, orinar más de dos veces al día e incluso tomar agua durante la jornada de trabajo. También esta vedado quejarse o faltar un solo día por enfermedad.

Estas razones son justificantes de despido para las guatemaltecas que laboran en la industria textilera de este país centroamericano, en establecimientos dirigidos, en su mayoría, por coreanos...

Maquila factories in Guatemala engage in labor slavery and sexist discrimination against women

Foreign-owned textile industry has two decades of violating labor and human rights standards

Guatemala - In the maquilas [low wage foreign-owned factories], women [who are the great majority of workers] are prohibited by their employers from getting pregnant, urinating more than twice a day, and to drink water during the workday. It is also forbidden to complain or miss even a single day because of illness.

Within Central America’s textile industry, which is run mostly by [South] Koreans, breaking these rules will get you fired.

These factories also practice age discrimination. If you are older than age 35, you are immediately rejected for employment. Successful applicants for work are typically between the ages of 16 and 30. Those who want to work must be willing to put up with inhumane conditions.

Women workers are packed into over-crowded, poorly ventilated production lines where as many as 350 people work in one area. The work areas often lack proper ventilation and access to potable water and sanitation.

At the end of each month, these workers receive a paycheck that is less than a living wage. Men earn more for doing the same work, and are not forced to work under such cruel conditions. According to Guatemala’s Ministry of Labor, women receive an average salary equivalent to $ 110 per month, while that of men is $ 125...

Moreover, women maquila workers are subjected to sexual harassment, according to the 2007 report, "We Only Ask that You Treat Us as Humans," developed by the Foundation for Peace and Democracy FUNPADEM.
 
A survey implemented between 2005 and 2006 by the FUNPADEM of 516 maquila workers in the capital and rural areas determined that persistent sexual harassment and abuse exists, but that the employees do not complain about it.

They reported that the manager of the factory routinely hires teenage girls, with whom he maintains a sexual relationship [as a condition of employment].

Many give in to the unwanted touching, indecent proposals and quid-pro-quo relationships because they need the work. Otherwise they would be fired, adds the report. The vast majority of these women have from one to five children, and are single mothers and heads of household. So they need to feed their families...

According to the National Survey of Commerce and Housing 2006, these women are part of a segment of six million people living in poverty, who live on one a dollar a day. One million of those live in extreme poverty.

This is not surprising in Guatemala, which has the second highest rate of female illiteracy in Latin America - 34.6 percent. The Presidential Secretariat for Women (SEPREM) reports that approximately half a million girls between seven and 14 years of age are not enrolled in primary school.

They, says Solis, are the ideal niche for the Koreans to seek to produce in their factories.

Velasquez, of the organization Atrahdom notes that these employees are treated so badly that they are not allowed to go the the bathroom to change their menstrual pads...

Alba Trejo

CIMAC / SEMlac

June 11, 2009


Added: June 11, 2009

The Indigenous Americas - Peru

The First Continental Summit of Indigenous Women

Moving Forward: The Fourth Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples in Puno, Peru

...The First Indigenous Women’s Summit started with a march from the... women’s plaza to the National Altiplano University where the summit was held...

The first panel was on Cosmology and Identity: Model of Development... The main themes were solidarity and reciprocity.

The second panel was on the Rights of Women: Violence and Racism... A key theme in this session was the importance of both Indigenous peoples and women in the construction of a plurinational state. ...Miguel Palacín, leader of the Coordinating Body of Andean Indigenous Organizations (CAOI) and lead organizer for the summit... emphasized the [traditional] Andean theme of gender equilibrium, with the importance of both men and women in building a sustainable society.

The third panel was on Women in the Construction of Power and Democracy... The presenters emphasized the importance of looking at power and democracy from the perspective of women, and the need for solidarity to achieve these goals.

Militarization of Social Spaces

One of the increasingly pressing themes in... Indigenous summits is the militarization of civil society. The [2007] Guatemalan summit had a heavy policy presence, allegedly justified by the high crime rate in that country. The Puno [Peru] summit was also surrounded by police, but without the accompanying justification of problems of criminal violence. It left many delegates feeling as if they were under constant political surveillance.

The opening women's march was followed by a large police contingent, with at least as many cops as marchers. Police also positioned themselves outside of the university gates along with a large riot control vehicle. As this was an entirely peaceful gathering, this large peace presence was hardly justified...

Marc Becker

June 09, 2009


Added: June 10, 2009

The Indigenous Americas - Peru

Photos from the First Summit of Indigenous Women and the Fourth Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples and Nationalities of Abya Yala in Puno, Peru. [Abya Yala is the term the Kuna people of Panama use to describe the Americas.]

Mark Becker

May-June , 2009

La I Cumbre Continental De Mujeres Indigenas Sesionando En El Marco Iv Cumbre Continetal De Los Pueblos Indigenas en Puno Perú

El día 27 de mayo nos hemos encontrado más de 2000 mujeres indígenas autoridades de todos los rincones del continente y del mundo con el objetivo de generar un espacio de encuentro de las mujeres indígenas en defensa y ejercicio de nuestros derechos manteniendo la unidad, equidad, igualdad y reciprocidad en las diferentes instancias internas y externas que garanticen el presente y el futuro y el fortalecimiento de la lucha de nuestros pueblos y la construcción del poder para el buen vivir.

Queremos denunciar a nivel nacional e internacional los siguientes hechos que se configuran para nosotros en una ALERTA para prevenir acciones que atenten contra los derechos de los pueblos indígenas y derechos humanos de las personas que participamos en dicho encuentro…

Summit of Indigenous Women Denounces Police harassment

National and International Press Release

The First Continental Summit Meeting Of Indigenous Women In The Fourth Continental Summit Of Indigenous Peoples in Puno, Peru

On May 27 we had gathered more than 2000 indigenous women authorities from every corner of the Americas and the world in order to generate a space for indigenous women to defend our rights and to pursuit the maintenance of our unity, equality and reciprocity... to ensure the present and the future, and to strengthen the struggles of our peoples to build a movement to construct a better life for our peoples.

We want to denounce at the national and international level the following actions that have violated the human rights of the indigenous peoples who participated in the Summit.

Background:

On May 26, 2009 we began arriving in the city of Puno, Peru.

International delegations from various parts of the world, including Indigenous authorities, peasant and social organizations, human rights NGOs and delegates from international agencies gathered to participate in the Fourth Summit of Indigenous Peoples.

The delegates were housed in various hotels in the city, as well as in schools.

We started our sessions on May 27 at the Central University in Puno.

Facts:

1. We had information that in Peru indigenous and social organizations were suffering from police and judicial harassment. Today, we the international delegations present for the Summit have experienced this harassment in the flesh, so we want to reveal this harsh reality to the world...

[The article continues by describing the heavy police and military presence sent to Puno (including light tanks) to monitor the Summit, and also the repeated and intensive police harassment that indigenous Summit delegates were subjected to during their stay in Puno. See full English translation.]

...We alerted national and international human rights bodies and organs of the State of Peru to take appropriate steps to stop any action that would violate the human and collective rights of the participants of the Summit of Indigenous Peoples. The responsibility lies with the Peruvian government and security agencies of the State for any act which endangers life and personal integrity and fundamental freedoms.

The First Summit of Indigenous Women overwhelmingly rejects the attitude of police and spying of any kind that leads to the loss of democracy and our rights. Even more, we repudiate any attempt to link the historical struggles of indigenous people with alleged terrorist groups, in order to justify repression against any of our peoples.

Full English Translation

First Summit of Indigenous Women
Puno, Peru May 28, 2009

See also:

Declaration of IV Continental Indigenous Summit Abya Yala

AbyaYalaNet.org

June 03, 2009


Added: June 9, 2009

Mexico

Mayan women in the town of Tenejapa, Chiapas state

Instalan Comité Regional contra la Trata de Personas en Chiapas

Tapachula, Chiapas - En Chiapas quedó instalado el Comité Regional contra la Trata de Personas, con lo que se convierte en uno de los estados en instituir un organismo de ese tipo.

De acuerdo con un comunicado del gobierno del estado, el objetivo es trabajar en medidas para la prevención en la trata de personas, así como proteger y dar asistencia a las víctimas del delito...

Committee Against Human Trafficking is Formed in Chiapas

Tapachula, Chiapas - Chiapas state has created its own Regional Committee Against Trafficking in Persons, joining several other Mexican states that have developed entities to address the issue.

According to a press release from the state government, the committee’s goal is to work on measures to prevent trafficking in persons and to protect and assist victims of crime.

It also seeks to coordinate efforts between federal, state and local governments, civil society and national and international organizations.

During a press conference, Mauricio Farah Gebara, representative of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), said that the states of Aguascalientes, Baja California, Campeche and Sonora have also set up state-level anti-trafficking committees.

Farah Gebara praised Chiapas state’s Law to Fight, Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons, and said that the state has a strong desire to eradicate this scourge.

Blanca Ruth Esponda Espinosa, general coordinator of the state’s Executive Cabinet added that their anti-trafficking committee was developed in collaboration with the United Nations, and added that Chiapas state was the only sub-national governmental body in the world to have developed a direct collaboration with the United Nations.

Esponda Espinosa emphasized that Chiapas state did not want to make mistakes in the creation of its strategies for assisting vulnerable populations, and therefore chose to work hand-in-hand with people who have the knowledge and experience in the field that the United Nations offers.

www.informador.com.mx

June 8, 2009

LibertadLatina

Commentary:

The world needs to focus its attention on fighting sex trafficking and exploitation in Mexico's Chiapas state, the largest center in the world for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC)

The government of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas has just announced the opening of their own state-level anti-trafficking office, developed in collaboration with the United nations.

We wish good luck and success to the members of this newly formed prevention-oriented committee. They will have their hands full.

Save the Children has identified Mexico's border region with Guatemala, and especially Chiapas state, as being the largest marketplace for the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) in the world.

As our map shows, this border region is the funnel through which all Central and South Americans seeking to migrate to the United States must pass. As a result, organized criminals and common rapists have set themselves up in Chiapas like trolls under a bridge, just waiting to ambush and victimize the tens of thousands of innocent migrants who cross into Mexico each year. Indigenous women and girls are subjected to these crimes at four times the rate experienced by other migrants.

According to the International Organization for Migration's Tapachula office, estimated 450 to 600 women and girls are sexually assaulted in this region each and every day as they cross the border into Mexico, with no police response whatsoever to this massive crime wave. Many of the victims are then kidnapped into sexual slavery, only to be sold to brothels in Tapachula, Mexico City, Tijuana, Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York and Madrid, among other destinations.

It is therefore not surprising that the United Nations has established its first anti-trafficking collaboration with the state government of a nation in Chiapas. The emergency in this state merits such focused attention.

While Mexico's President Felipe Calderón has delayed and watered down regulations to combat trafficking during the past year, we are glad to see that the Chiapas state government has developed a direct working relationship with the United Nations to combat this obscene scourge.

While this is a good start, international political pressure must be brought to bear on the federal government of Mexico to insist that: 1) significant resources be committed with sincerity to combat trafficking and violent crime against migrant women and the local, especially indigenous Mayan population; and 2) corrupt police, military and immigration agents under federal control stop sexually exploiting and extorting migrant women and girls in collaboration with the region's brutal sex trafficking mafias.

If those steps are taken honestly and obtain results (a tall order), perhaps Chiapas will finally loose its infamy as being the largest center for the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the entire world.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 6, 2009

See also:

Sex Trafficking in Central America

...Save the Children has identified the border region between Guatemala and Mexico as being the largest hot spot for the commercial sexual exploitation of children globally.  Ana Salvadó [executive director for Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean for Save the Children]: "It is the neck in the bottle, because many children attempt to migrate from Central America [and South America] to the United States, and they never get past [southern] Mexico, where they are sold by pimps and sometimes are returned to Central America."

A study by the international organization ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes)... reveals that over 21,000 Central Americans, with the majority being children, are prostituted in 1,552 bars and brothels in Tapachula, Mexico. 

Traffickers sell these children to Tapachula's pimps for $200 each.

Prostitution in cities like Tapachula operates openly.  Contralínea Magazine has documented the fact that traffickers work with corrupt federal and local officials in exchange for bribes or as direct participants in the criminal networks.  They do business in easily identified neighborhoods such as Las Huacas.  

According to ECPAT's report "Ending Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes," from Tapachula, where these children are sold, the victims are transported to the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Michoacán, Guerrero, Jalisco, Nayarit, Sinaloa and Mexico City.

More that 50% of these child victims are from [indigenous] Guatemala.  The rest are Salvadorans, Hondurans and Nicaraguans.  They range in age from eight to fourteen-years-old.

Contralinea Magazine

Oct. 22, 2007

See also:

Al salir, viajar por México hacia EU y regresar a casa

Migración de centroamericanas, el fenómeno de la violencia

Central American women face violence during migration

During the meeting... convened by the Latin American Association of Organizations for the Promotion of Development (ALOP), Ruby Escamilla [with the Tapachula, Mexico office of the International Organization for Migration] explained that six to eight out of every ten Central American women - some 30 to 40 percent of 1,500 migrants who cross Mexico's southern border daily, suffer some form of sexual violence...

[That amounts to 450 to 600 new victims of rape with impunity each day, with no law enforcement response whatsoever.]

Guadalupe Cruz Jaimes

CIMAC Noticias

Dec. 23, 2008

See also:

In 2006, the International Labor Organization conducted a survey of adult attitudes in Mexico, Central America and South America, where it is quite easy [for men] to engage in sexual relations with children.

Some 65% of respondents stated that they don't see any problem, and they don't feel any sort of conflict or fear in regard to having sex with boy and girl children, and "they don't feel that there is anything wrong with doing it."

...Mexico has been converted into a paradise for pimps and a living hell for thousands of Central American girl children like Jackeline Jirón Silva [kidnapped by sex traffickers at age 11], whose captors have prostituted her during the past 32 months. It is known that during half of that time, Jackeline has been held in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.

Ana Lilia Pérez

Revista Contralínea

Oct. 22, 2007

See also:

Central America: Activists infiltrate sex rings

Psychologist Viviana Retana... told IPS that the trafficking of children as sexual merchandise was a constant phenomenon in Central America and Mexico, as well as other countries in Latin America. ''The rings of pedophiles and procurers are very well organized, operate with advanced technology and handle large amounts of money,'' she explained. The authors reported that procurers in Mexico buy 12 to 15-year- old girls from Central America - mainly Salvadorans and Hondurans - for 100 to 200 dollars.

Inter Press Service (IPS

April 5, 2002

See also:

Trafficking Migrant Women and Minors at the Mexican Southern Border. A Exploration into an Unknown Reality. (Executive Summary - In English)

Rodolfo Casillas R.

The Organization of American Sates (OAS)

Feb., 2005

See also:

Traficking of Women, Adolescents and Children in Mexico: "An Exploratory Assessment in Tapachula, Chiapas" (In Spanish - Large PDF file - 269 pages)

Rodolfo Casillas R.

The Organization of American Sates (OAS)

2006

See also:

In Modern Bondage: Sex Trafficking in the Americas - Part 1 (PDF file - 296 pages)

Central America, the Caribbean and Brazil

Guatemala: The rate of trafficking into, within, and out of Guatemala is alarming. Strong border controls by Mexico, a high level of corruption, and a large number of migrants seeking opportunities to travel north foster conditions that allow for trafficking. In addition to the usual method of trafficking through false promises of work ending in forced prostitution, female migrants who may have arrived independently or with assistance of smugglers are coerced into prostitution. Immigration and police have increased arrests for smuggling, but identification of trafficking cases is not pursued.

International Human rights Law Institute

DePaul University School of Law

2002, 2005

See also:

LibertadLatina

The city of Tapachula, in Chiapas state near Mexico's border with Guatemala, is one of the largest and most lawless child sex trafficking markets in all of Latin America.

A 2007 study by the international organization ECPAT [End Child Prostitution and Trafficking]... revealed that over 21,000 Central Americans, mostly children, are prostituted in 1,552 bars and brothels in Tapachula.


Added: June 8, 2009

Navajo Nation

(The Navajo woman pictured is not a known victim related to this story.)

Sexual Assault Among the Navajo

Dear Editor, this letter is based on upon my experiences volunteering with San Juan Catholic Charities and assisting with homeless female sexually assaulted victims in San Juan County and McKinley County [New Mexico]...

Victims of sexual assault face many obstacles that hinder the process of healing and overcoming the trauma of being victimized. No wonder they have no faith in the justice system and feel that they are re-victimized by society...

...My investigation of sexual assault cases on the Navajo Reservation has led me to believe that we should re-educate our people. One suggestion is to have Rehabilitation and Treatment Programs include a lesson on the historical background of the multi-generational trauma that natives have endured at the hands of the majority culture. In addition, clients should reflect on their own family history and find proactive ways in dealing with their pain and suffering.

Another suggestion is to educate the public about the growing epidemic of violence against Native American women and make the public aware of the lack of funding that is widespread across the reservation, which leads to inadequate levels of services such as, shelters in need of repair, no counseling services for sexual assault victims, and the low priority status of most sexual assault cases within the justice system.

Another suggestion is to address and educate men about historical context of sexual assault among Native American women. In addition, Indian health care providers, school officials, tribal law officials, chapter house officials, and service providers need to create curriculum that includes what it means to be a masculine in ways that honor women, reflect healthy traditional community values, and how sexual violence has been condoned in rural communities...

Naomipine

Letter to the Editor

Indian Country Today

May 27, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

About the crisis of sexual exploitation facing indigenous women and children within the United States


Added: June 6, 2009

Mexico

Indigenous girls in Mexico - always at risk from sex traffickers and a government that does not care...

'Everybody knows who really runs Mexico'

Let's get to the question of who appears to be winning the war on illegal drugs right off the top, shall we?

Criminals, that's who.

They include the big honchos in the Mexican cartels (and their affiliates in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere) and politicians, business people, police, the army and other well-placed citizens who, under a veneer of respectability, empower the narco-empires.

"There's no doubt the cartels need them to stay in business," says Victor Clark Alfaro, an expert on the drug trade from San Diego State University. "Their war is invisible."

That makes them, for the most part, untouchable…

"I would say Mexico is a state with a parallel power in its drug cartels. It's not a narco state yet; we still have a government. But they have true power, beginning with the right to tax (protection money)," argues Clark." I would say we are in great danger (of becoming a narco-state)."

His bleak view was overwhelmingly echoed during a month-long investigation by the Toronto Star, that included about 60 interviews in Mexico City, Acapulco, Tijuana, San Diego, Vancouver and Toronto.

…Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington… says Calderon "probably deserves more credit than critics like myself have given him. The militarization of the drug war has been only moderately successful, but more importantly, he has shown the magnitude of the corruption. ... It's not anecdotal, it's systemic."

Carlos Osorio

The Toronto Star

June 5, 2009

LibertadLatina

Commentary

Corruption in Mexico and its impact on that nation's war against sexual exploitation and trafficking

The June 5, 2009 article by Carlos Osorio in the Toronto Star, "Everybody knows who really runs Mexico" - highlights one of the key roadblocks to combating sexual exploitation in the 'Aztec nation' as U.S. based Spanish-language TV network news refers to Mexico.

Many in the inter-national anti-trafficking movement, including professionals working in government,  inter-governmental organi-zations, academia, international aid groups, law enforce-ment agencies and non-governmental agencies focus a large portion of their efforts to combat modern human slavery on the advancement of international legal instruments - protocols and conventions, to reign-in the explosive growth in modern human slavery.

An assumption is made in professional circles that the international legal system will provide a framework that each nation can model national legislation on, the law in each country will be passed, law enforcement will then enforce these laws, and human slavery will be brought under control.

As our extensive news coverage of the crisis in Mexico illustrates, being a signatory to international human rights and anti-trafficking agreements does not automatically mean that the signatory nation is actually in agreement with the goal of ending modern human trafficking and related forms of sexual exploitation.

The Toronto Star article highlights the fact that narco-traffickers, through their use of criminal profits to fuel payoffs to corrupt government officials, effectively represent a shadow government that runs in parallel with the federal government of Mexico. This is not surprising, given that millions of Mexicans live in severe poverty and find the idea of working for a drug cartel to be a reasonable employment option.

The drug cartels are also Mexico's largest financiers of the sex trafficking industry. The cartels use their complex trafficking  transportation networks to ship guns, drugs, and yes, also 10-year-old Mayan girls, and many other Mexican and Central American-migrant kidnap victims destined to be sold into much-shortened and tortured lives as sex slaves in Los Angeles, Tokyo, New York, Amsterdam and Madrid.

The mass sexual slavery of women and children is condoned in Mexico in-part because these 'customs' have existed as a basic element of the 'cult' of machismo for hundreds of years, during which time the 'practice' has focused most intensively on the sexual exploitation with impunity of Indigenous women and girls. That was the reality in 1600, and that is the reality today in 2009.

It is simply not in the best interests of the drug cartels to see sex trafficking brought under control in Mexico. Selling women and girls internationally brings them as much profit as trafficking in drugs, while exposing them to less risk.

In reality, the fact that Mexico does not control modern human slavery, and especially the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC), means that the entire world-wide marketplace of buyers of child and adult sex slaves eagerly seek-out the merchandise sold by Mexico's sex trafficking 'industry.'

The southern Mexican border region has been identified as the largest center for Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the entire world. In one glaring example of that truth, over 50% of the 20,000 plus women and girls working in that border region's prostitution 'mega-center,' the city of Tapachula, are underage girls.

In addition, an estimated 450 to 600 Latin American migrant women and girls are sexually assaulted each and every day as they cross from Guatemala into Mexico, seeking to reach the United States. Many of those victims are then kidnapped and sold by sex traffickers. A 12-year-old Mayan girl can be bought in the border region for $100 to $200 dollars. If she can be transported to Madrid, Spain, the trafficker can resell the girl for over $25,000, because Mayan girls are considered to be 'exotic' merchandise.

Despite these tragedies, and the thousands of other cases that exist, for 11 full months, during which time the Congress of the Republic issued four stern warnings to him on the issue, Mexico's President Felipe Calderón delayed publishing federal regulations that were desperately needed to enable the nation's 2008 federal anti-trafficking law, its first.

When the President did finally publish the regulations, Congress and anti-trafficking activists in Mexico found the rules to have been watered down, weakening the law and deliberately thwarting the intent of Congress - to control modern human slavery.

The drug cartels control Mexico 'on the ground' - and Mexico's federal government expresses a combination of indifference and impunity in regard to combating human trafficking. Therefore, sexual slavery and labor trafficking are not at all controlled in Mexico. Plain and simple. Mexico's government will do what it must to be placed in a good position on the U.S. Department of State's global Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, but beyond that, victims should not hold their breath while they wait for assistance.

Despite Mexico's ratification of the United Nations' Palermo Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants in March of 2003, modern sexual and labor slavery remain completely protected by impunity, while traffickers laugh all the way to the bank with their profits.

Mexico is just one example of a reality that exists across the world. Nations living in poverty who are targeted by modern human traffickers will, at the levels of  government, law enforcement and civil society, often turn a blind eye in exchange for a cut of the profits from the sex trade. As honest citizens and those who are vulnerable to being trafficked clamor for protection and justice, they find that 'nobody is home' in the government agencies that should protect them from these sadistic gangsters.

As the crisis on modern human slavery grows and spins out of control in reaction to increasing demand and the impact of the global economic downturn, creative new approaches and  solutions to combat trafficking must be brought to the table.

We are therefore encouraged by the brave efforts of United Nations diplomats and Ecuadorian Minister of Justice and Human Rights (Attorney General) Néstor Arbito Chica to promote a Global Plan of Action to get around the very clear fact that the Palermo Protocol, and regional efforts by the Organization of American States (OAS) are insufficient to successfully fight this aggressive war against a whole generation of Latin American and especially Indigenous women and girls.

We look forward to seeing the United States take a leading role to step-up efforts to bring this crisis under control.

We are not, for example, impressed that sex traffickers have taken an estimated 4,000 underage Indigenous girls from Mexico to Japan to be sold into the Yakuza mafia's network of brothels.

Between the leaders of Japan, the United States and the United Nations, there does exist the power to rescue these children and bring them back home.

Can you make that happen, President Obama?

If not, it is time to form a United Nations-based Global Plan of Action entity that can carry out such rescues.

We therefore recommend that the U.S. Department of State change its current opposition to a Global Plan of Action, a position that it bases  upon an assumption that the Palermo Protocol is an effective mechanism to combat modern slavery.

It is clear to see that the Palermo Protocol is not working effectively.

Meanwhile, the victims wait for help that may never come, and those at risk wait for the day when they can walk down the street without fear of being kidnapped and raped dozens of times per day for the three or four years that they might be expected to survive through the unending, nightmarish hell of a life that we call sexual slavery.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 6, 2009


Added: June 6, 2009

Guatemala

Stop the Killing of Women in Guatemala

"Guatemala: We have neither protection nor justice for women and girls."

Photo: Amnesty International

Guatemala’s Femicide Law: Progress Against Impunity?

Excerpt form the  Executive Summary

Guatemala ranks among the most dangerous places in Latin America, especially for women. While crime and violence affects everyone, particularly community leaders, indigenous rights representatives, judges, and human rights defenders, violence against women and girls has escalated markedly in the past ten years…

With a population under 14 million, Guatemala registered over 4,300 violent murders of women from 2000 to 2008, and shockingly 98% of the cases remained unsolved. The majority of murders are committed by firearm in and around Guatemala City, and are preceded by rape or torture…

The internal armed conflict, classified as genocide by the United Nations, contributed heavily to the legacy of violence in Guatemala, including violence against women. With torture regularly used as a military technique, the torment that women faced was of a particularly sadistic nature. Two comprehensive reports document the extent of the sexual abuses carried out against women during the war. The vast majority who suffered sexual violence were of Mayan descent (88.7%). It has been estimated that 50,000 women and girls were victims of violence.

The suffering endured by women during the internal armed conflict did not end with the signing of the Peace Accords in 1996. Organized crime, gangs, drug trafficking, and human trafficking have become part of daily life both in the capital city and also throughout the countryside. A lack of rule of law, including corruption, gender bias and impunity in law enforcement, investigations and the legal system have also had an adverse effect on women…

Impunity in cases of violence against women and femicide is staggeringly high. Dr. Carlos Castresana, Commissioner of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), has identified impunity as the overwhelming factor in the femicide crisis…

The Guatemalan National Police force is understaffed, lacks training on how to approach female victims of violence, and is notoriously corrupt. Domestic violence continues to be dismissed as a “private” matter, despite legislation to the contrary, and gender bias permeates the investigative process and judicial system. In many femicide cases victims are initially dismissed as prostitutes, gang members, or criminals…

Guatemala Human rights Commission / USA

2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

About the sexual exploitation with impunity of women and children in the Mayan majority nation of Guatemala


Added: June 6, 2009

The World /

El Mundo

Regine Stachelhaus, head of UNICEF Germany, attends a press conference to present a UNICEF world report on global child sexual exploitation on June 2, 2009 in Berlin

Photo: Getty Images

Roger Moore urges global action against child exploitation

Former James Bond star Roger Moore lashed out on Tuesday against the sexual exploitation of children, urging those who abuse minors to be pursued across national borders - reports AFP.

Speaking at the publication of a new UNICEF report on the sexual abuse of children, Moore said: "Childhood is being destroyed by sexual abuse, violence and neglect. We must stop it. If we do nothing, our silence would mean acceptance."

The 81-year-old British actor, a longtime UNICEF ambassador, added: "I can hardly imagine a more shameful violation of the rights of children as the deliberate exploitation of their bodies by unscrupulous adults to serve their sexual appetite."

"They destroy the childhood of their victims and do harm to them that lasts throughout their lives."

He called for better cooperation between police forces, public prosecutors and the business sector.

"Perpetrators must be followed across borders," he urged.

The UNICEF report quoted data from a 2006 World Health Organization (WHO) document estimating that as many as 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 are "every year forced into sex".

Actor News

June 2, 2009

UNICEF ambassador and former movie star Roger Moore presents UNICEF report on global levels of child exploitation

UNICEF: En el mundo hay 225 millones de niños explotados sexualmente

Unos 150 millones de niñas y unos 73 millones de niños menores de 18 años son víctimas de explotación sexual en el mundo, según un informe publicado el martes por la sección alemana de UNICEF.

Berlín - Cientos de miles de niños son cada año vendidos al extranjero, a menudo con fines sexuales, según las estadísticas del Fondo de Naciones Unidas para la Infancia (UNICEF), que fueron presentadas en Berlín por el actor y 'ex James Bond' Roger Moore, embajador de buena voluntad de la entidad.

A pesar de los progresos alcanzados en materia de legislación para proteger a los niños, "esto se aplica mal a menudo en numerosos países", comentó el actor británico. "Cada año millones de niñas y niños son forzados a prostituirse y a la pornografía", indicó Moore, añadiendo que el desarrollo de internet y de las tecnologías de vídeo han provocado una explosión de la difusión de imágenes de pedofilia.

Según las estimaciones de UNICEF, entre 60.000 y 100.000 niños son víctimas del comercio sexual en Filipinas, mientras que en Bangladesh la media de edad de los menores víctimas de explotación sexual es de 13 años.

En las playas turísticas de Kenia unos 150.000 niños se prostituyen diariamente, siendo la mayoría de ellos víctimas de turistas sexuales procedentes de países ricos, por lo que UNICEF instó a un mayor esfuerzo a escala internacional para combatir esta plaga.

Agence France Presse (AFP)

June 02, 2009

Added: June 6, 2009

The World /

El Mundo

Horrific Figures: 225 Million Children Victims of Sexual Exploitation

Every year millions of children are forced to take part in the porn industry while hundreds of thousands are being sold for sexual purposes.

Around 150 million girls and 73 million boys under the age of 18 fall victim to sexual exploitation in the world, says a report issued by the German branch of UNICEF.

Every year hundreds of thousands of children are being sold to other countries, often for sexual purposes, says the report which UNICEF’s ambassador and former movie star Roger Moore, best known for his role in a series of James Bond films, presented in Berlin on Tuesday.

Despite progress made in passing laws to protect children, the laws are too often poorly applied in many countries, Moore said.

Explosion of pedophilia on the internet

Every year millions of girls and boys are forced into prostitution and into the porn industry, Moore said.

The development of the internet and video technology have caused an explosion of pedophilic content on the internet.

According to UNICEF data, between 60,000 and 100,000 children are victims of sexual industry in the Philippines, and in Bangladesh, the average age of a sexually exploited child is thirteen.

On the beaches on Kenya, 15,000 children prostitute themselves every day and fall victims of tourists from rich countries, the UNICEF reports.

The UN organization is urging the international community to invest in a maximum efforts to stop this crime.

Germany’s Minister of Family Ursula von der Leyen, who wishes to push a law against child pornography on the internet in her country, said Germany should be a role-model for the international fight against human trafficking, child prostitution and child pornography.

Javno.com

Germany

June 02, 2009

See also:

Added: June 6, 2009

The World /

El Mundo

United Nations: Child Sex Trade Will Rise Amid World Financial Crisis

Sao Paulo, Brazil - More poor children may be driven into the sex trade as a result of the world financial crisis and the spreading use of the Internet by predators to find victims, participants at a U.N.-backed conference said Wednesday.

Those factors pose new challenges for governments, which must do more to combat abuse and growing child prostitution, said Ann Veneman, executive director of UNICEF.

"Poverty contributes to it," Veneman said in a telephone interview from Rio de Janeiro, where U.N. agency is a co-sponsor of this week's Third World Congress against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents.

"You are more likely to have demands on children to drop out of school, and if they are young girls, they are very likely to end up in prostitution or being sexually exploited." ...

A recent U.N. survey estimated that 150 million girls and 73 million boys under age 18 were forced to have sexual intercourse or experienced other forms of sexual violence in 2002...

In the largely lawless [Brazilian] Amazon region state of Para, some families prostitute their daughters to truckers because it's often the only way they can get enough money to eat, said federal police superintendent Ismar Ferreira.

He blamed a lack of social programs for preventing the practice, and said some cases end up as sexual slavery.

"I found a 72-year-old man living with an 11-year-old girl he got in a trade for a sack of flour," Ferreira told the Agencia Brasil news agency.

Last year, a 15-year-old girl arrested on petty theft charges was left for weeks in a jail cell in Para state with 21 men, who raped her, tortured her and only allowed her food in exchange for sex...

FoxNews.com

Nov. 26, 2008

LibertadLatina

Commentary

UNICEF documents the fact that an estimated 225 million children are sexually exploited in the world today

We would like to thank UNICEF Germany for producing its 2009 report that defines the huge scale of child sexual exploitation in the world today.

We need this, and even more research and reporting to help make the case to world leaders that much more must be done to stop the sexual exploitation of children.

The Commercial  Sexual Exploitation Children (CSEC) has been 'institutionalized' in Latin America for centuries. Without such honest documentation, this exploitation, hidden by an ancient, socially enforced 'code of silence,' will remain in the shadows.

We hope that the UNICEF report receives wide press coverage, and we hope that the morally responsible parties in all nations will react to this report, and stand up to aggressively combat these socially condoned mass atrocities against children!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 6, 2009

See also:

Mexico: Más de un millón de menores se prostituyen en el centro del país: especialista

Expert: More than one million minors are sexually exploited in Central Mexico

Tlaxcala city, in Tlaxcala state - Around 1.5 million people in the central region of Mexico are engaged in prostitution, and some 75% of them are between 12 and 13 years of age, reported Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean...

During an international seminar in the city of Tlaxcala, Ulloa noted that, due to the conditions of marginalization in which they live, at least 50 million women and children in Latin America are at risk of being recruited for sexual exploitation.

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 26, 2007


Added: June 6, 2009

Pennsylvania, USA

Heroes David Vargas and Fernando Genval are given  reward checks

Accused child rapist Jose Carasquillo

11-Year Old Rape Victim and Dad Thank Vigilante "Heroes"

Two men who caught and beat the suspect split $11,500

The little girl who was viciously raped came with her dad to thank the vigilante "heroes" who caught and beat the suspect. David Vargas and Fernando Genval were given $11,500 in reward money.

Her dad said to everyone in the room, "Just thank you for caring."

Police sources say rape suspect Jose Carrasquillo may have followed and groped a second girl on the very same morning he's accused of sexually assaulting the 11-year old Kensington girl.

Carrasquillo didn't get the luxury of street clothes when he left the hospital Thursday. He was rushed, still in his medical gown, into the Special Victims unit for questioning.

Carrasquillo was spotted and beaten in the street Tuesday afternoon by neighbors. The two men who led the charge, one with a two-by-four, were called heroes by the Fraternal Order of Police during Friday's ceremony. The FOP put up most of the reward money.

The mob scene was caught on tape by a surveillance camera and the victim watched that tape when she got home from the hospital. Her grandmother told NBC10's Mike Strug the little girl wanted to see the video, despite her warnings.

"Baby, you don't have to watch it, I told her, but she said 'I want to watch it because I want to see them kick his butt. I just want to stab him too. I want to hurt him too,'" is how the grandmother recounted the conversation.

Dan Stamm and Karn Araiza

NBC Philadelphia

Jun 5, 2009


Added: June 6, 2009

Texas, USA

Edwin Auner Morales

Police: Man tried to rape 13-year-old babysitter

McAllen - Police arrested a man who allegedly tried to rape a 13-year-old girl who was babysitting his children.

The girl told police Edwin Auner Morales, 23, tried forcing himself on her at his home... late last month.

According to a police affidavit in the case, the girl was holding one of his wife's babies when he approached her and told her that he wanted to have sex with her.

The girl told the man she did not want to have sex with him because he was married but Morales insisted, the record states.

Morales told the girl he was having marital problems and grabbed her by the arms while she was still carrying the child.

The victim said she kicked and pushed him away before she walked into his bedroom and placed the baby on the bed, according to the affidavit.

Morales then pushed her on the bed and got on top of her while the baby lay beside them.

The babysitter said she got up, picked the baby up from the bed and tried handing it to Morales to distract him.

Instead of taking the child, Morales insisted that he wanted to have sex with the girl, the record states.

The victim said she then kicked him on the legs and pushed him to the ground as she carried the infant. While he struggled to stand up, she placed the baby back on the bed and left the home.

On Wednesday, Morales confessed that he tried having sex with the girl against her will and he acknowledged that he knew she was a minor during the incident, the affidavit states…

Ana Ley

The Monitor

May 30, 2009


Added: June 2, 2009

California, USA

Armando Sanchez

Updated: Sex offender arrested for following girls to school

Gilroy - Police arrested a 30-year-old registered sex offender after he allegedly followed two sisters, 14 and 11, who were on their way to school.

About 8:20 a.m. Friday, police pulled over a white Toyota SUV driven by Armando Sanchez near the corner of Fourth and Church streets and arrested him for annoying or molesting a child younger than 18 and driving with a suspended license, both misdemeanors. One of the victims identified him at the scene as the man who followed her and her sister earlier that week. Sanchez, who lived on the 8100 block of Forest Street, is a registered sex offender, according to police, but he did not show up on the Megan's Law Web site, which tracks California sex offenders.

About 9:15 a.m. Wednesday, two girls reported that they were being followed by a Hispanic man in his mid-20s driving a white Ford Explorer or Jeep Cherokee without a front grill, police said. He slowly drove past them on the 7600 block of Hanna Street - between Third and Fourth streets - at least three times, slowing down each time to smile and give the peace sign to the sisters as they walked to their separate schools.

After the third loop, the man made a U-turn and drove northbound on Hanna Street toward the girls, who were walking in that direction. They crossed the road during his maneuver, though, causing the man to keep on driving, police said.

When the older sister kept walking on Hanna toward Brownell Middle School just a block north, she told her younger sister to stay close to a woman and another young girl walking west on Third Street toward El Roble Elementary School, which sits about six blocks west from that location, near the intersection of Wren Avenue and Third Street.

Before the younger sister could make it to El Roble, though, the man drove by again - nearing her for the fifth time - and actually stopped near Third and Rea streets. According to the 11-year-old, who notified school officials who called police, the man stepped out of the SUV and yelled in English, "Don't run. I'm not going to do anything to you."

"She was obviously spooked by this, so she picked up her pace to catch up with the adult in front of her, and when he saw this, he drove away," Sgt. Jim Gillio said. "He took it to the next level. There was a pattern and an overt attempt to bother the victims."

Although Sanchez is a registered sex offender, police could not disclose his previous offenses, Gillio said. According to the Megan's Law Web site, about 25 percent of registered sex offenders are excluded from public disclosure by law and, therefore, do not appear online...

Sara Suddes

The Gilroy Dispatch

Jun 1, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina note:

Unfortunately, men who come from cultures where the the sexual harassment of underage girls is encouraged by the most severe forms of machismo (especially in rural areas) take these beliefs with them when then migrate to the United States and other nations. I have had to come to the aid of several women and underage girls who have been harassed by immigrant men who feel that it is their birthright to engage in this behavior. The below true account details one such event.

If this occurs across the United States, as numerous press stories have documented, imagine what underage girls are going through in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, where there is often no police response to crimes involving adult men who target young girls for sexual assault.

This issue will be an obstacle to serious immigration reform until Latino communities and leaders take this issue head on and denounce these abuses. Today, the 'code of silence' in the Barrio predomi-nates, providing cover to men who behave like this.

Chuck Goolsby

June 3, 2009

From: A letter to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

In 1997 I reported the ongoing, daily sexual harassment of an 11 year old Latina immigrant girl from El Salvador by an adult man to the Gaithersburg City, Maryland Police Department.

[This adult man had the audacity to attempt to tell this girl's mother formally of his plans to date her daughter.]

The first visits by a patrol officers on two occasions involved [on the first occasion] an officer who didn't care at all and took no action; and [on the second occasion,] a lack of willingness to follow up on the case when the harasser was found not to be home (I served as translator for these two officers). During the second incident, the officers had me translate for a roommate of the harasser, and never came back to talk to the harasser at all.

These two officers [one from Gaithersburg City and one from the Montgomery County Police Department] told me in a matter of fact way that they could not respond to what the county Police Academy had taught them (in cultural sensitivity classes there) was just a part of Latino culture [the sexual harassment and sexual exploitation of 11-year-old girls].

The next year, 1998, I again approached the Gaithersburg City Police force to report that the same adult man was now sexually involved with this now 12 year old girl. The officer who I spoke with at the city's police station stated to me that "We can't just pick him up, he might sue the city." I demanded to know from this officer "whether there were laws against pedophilia and statutory rape in Maryland or were there not!"

[The officer had to huddle with two co-workers for 10 minutes off in a corner before agreeing to go and arrest the perpetrator at the girl's mother's request.]

I had to assert myself in the face of this apathy and disinterest, to the apparent approval of the female clerk working at the city's police station, where this conversation took place...

Chuck Goolsby

Letter to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Dec. 5, 1999

See also:

Letter from a social worker, that responds to the above letter

Dear Mr. Goolsby,

"Over the past two years, I have been observing a systemic pattern of violence committed against girls and young women in our community. This violence involves the sexual abuse/assault against girls as young as 10 years old...

...There have been incidents of date rape, gang rape, abductions, drugging, threats with firearms, etc. The incidents are just as you described in your [Mr. Goolsby's 1999] letter [to the National center for Missing and Exploited Children] and have been met with the same level of indifference and dismissal of legal (never mind moral) responsibility on the part of civil institutions -- the police department, public schools, etc."

...While some do say this is culturally accepted behavior, the reality is that many families -- mothers and fathers alike -- are enraged and wanting to pursue prosecution of the perpetrators, but they find themselves without recourse when the police won't respond to them, when they fear risking their personal safety, and/or when their legal status (undocumented) prevents them from believing they have rights or legal protection in this country. Many girls and young women's families are threatened and harassed by the perpetrators when it becomes apparent that the family is willing to press charges for statutory rape/child sexual abuse. 

The use of intimidation and violence to control girls and their families results in the following: 1) parents/guardians back off from pressing charges, 2) relatives do not inform the police or others of sightings of girls and young women who have been officially reported as "missing juveniles," and 3) the victims of sexual violence refuse to participate as "willing witnesses" in the prosecution/trial process.

When this sexual violence occurs within the context of a seemingly permissive public environment -- indifferent civil institutions, forced silence and complicity of families, gang culture, a society that explicitly promotes the sexualization and exploitation of children through media -- its criminal and immoral nature goes unquestioned. My question is how and where do we create the public environment that allows us to voice our disapproval and to hold the implicated adults accountable for their negligent care of our children?

- A Latina Social Worker and girl's community center director working with young, mostly Latina girls and youth in Washington, DC's largest Latino neighborhoods

Dec., 1999

See also:

LibertadLatina

Special section...

U.S. Rape Cases


Added: June 2, 2009

Mexico

Tlapanec human rights activist Inés Fernández Ortega

Photo: El Comite de Verdad, Justicia y Libertad

Indigenous Rape Victims Fight Military Impunity

Mexico City - The aberrations of Mexican justice were clearly visible in the cases of rape and torture allegedly committed by soldiers in 2002 against two indigenous women, Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo. But their experiences are not exceptional in rural areas of the southern state of Guerrero.

However, Fernández and Rosendo, both 23, who have suffered death threats and have been stigmatized by neighbors and even by their husbands as rape victims, are not giving up. This month Fernández managed to take her case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and Rosendo may achieve the same in the near future.

Abuses by the military and police are a permanent feature of life in rural areas in Guerrero [state], and reporting them to the Mexican justice system has had little to no effect, according to human rights organizations that have documented the cases.

The state security forces are deployed in Guerrero to fight drug trafficking and small guerrilla groups, the authorities say.

"Under the pretext of security concerns, the authorities are rampantly violating the human rights" of campesinos (small farmers) in Guerrero, most of whom are indigenous people...

Fernández, of the Tlapanec people, was raped in March 2002 when soldiers came to her house, demanding to know where the beef she was cooking had come from.

Just 17 years old, Fernández did not reply because she does not speak Spanish. Furious, the soldiers burst into her home and one of them raped her there in front of her four small children, said Rosales, her lawyer.

Rosendo, another Tlapanec woman who was also under 18 at the time, had gone through a similar ordeal a month earlier. She was washing clothes when she was approached by a group of soldiers who tried to question her but got no reply because she, too, did not speak Spanish. One of the soldiers then raped her.

Both cases were reported to the local police and justice authorities. The prosecutions that followed were marred by obstacles like indifferent treatment by experts, a marked lack of interest in securing evidence, and discrimination against the victims, "things that, as we well know, are not at all unusual here in Mexico," Rosales said.

After several months of fruitless procedures, the civil justice authorities handed both cases over to the military courts, which in 2006 closed the investigations on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the soldiers concerned had committed "breaches of military discipline…"

Diego Cevallos

Inter Press Service (IPS)

May 29, 2009

See also:

Hostigamiento y persecución a compañeros en Guerrero

About the military's harassment of Inés Fernández Ortega and her husband, Fortunato Prisciliano, members of the Tlapaneco (mepha`a) indigenous movement

En peligro la vida de nuestros compañeros Fortunato e Inés, quienes con valor y dignidad han denunciado el abuso del ejército federal en la sierra mepha`a de Guerrero.

Inés Fernández Ortega y su esposo Fortunato Prisciliano son miembros de la Organización de Pueblo Indígena Mepha´a de Ayutla de los Libres y adherentes a la "Otra campaña".

A Inés Fernández Ortega, el 22 de marzo de 2002 fue atacada y violada por tres soldados del ejército federal. Los "guachos" entraron a su casa de madera y tierra para interrogarla acerca de una carne que estaba colgada fuera de la casa y que según los soldados era robada, después fue interrogada sobre el paradero de su esposo y después fue ultrajada por los soldados. Posteriormente, Inés Fernández y Fortunato Prisciliano denunciaron ante las autoridades locales la violación e inicialmente se abrió una investigación en el Ministerio Público de Ayutla de los Libres, en el Estado de Guerrero. Sin embargo, las autoridades militares no tardaron mucho en atribuirse la jurisdicción del caso y en 2003 el fiscal militar recomendó cerrar las investigaciones. Según los informes, ese mismo año soldados del ejército mexicano intimidaron a la pareja y acosaron a otros vecinos de Ayutla...

El Comite de Verdad, Justicia y Libertad

The Truth Justice and Liberty Committee

August 28, 2007

See also:

Mexico: Government, Military Scramble to Deny Rape of Indigenous Woman

Mexico City - The handling of the case of an elderly indigenous woman who was allegedly raped by soldiers and died soon afterwards has seriously undermined public trust in the governmental National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), the Mexican government and the armed forces, which deny that she was sexually assaulted.

"We believe they want to let the case go unpunished, which is simply unacceptable. We regret and deplore that the government should abase itself in this way before the power of the military," the president of the Mexican League for the Defence of Human Rights, Adrián Ramírez, told IPS.

Ernestina Ascensio, a 73-year-old Nahuátl indigenous sheep herder, died on Feb. 25 in the rural municipality of Soledad Atzompa in the state of Veracruz, located on the Gulf of Mexico. A military detachment of some 100 troops is stationed in this extremely poor area.

According to the elderly woman's relatives, before she died she told them that several soldiers had attacked her, and this testimony was confirmed by Veracruz prosecutors, who stated after a forensic examination of the body that the injuries received were consistent with having been brutally raped and sodomized. She had also suffered fractures of the skull and hip.

However, a rival version of the facts soon followed. After exhumation of the body and a second autopsy, president of the CNDH José Luis Soberanes declared Thursday that Ascensio had not been raped but had died of anemia caused by malnutrition and chronic intestinal bleeding.

"I don't know whether they're trying to protect the guilty or what, but this information from the CNDH is very serious, because it does not appear to be substantiated," Ramírez said...

Diego Cevallos

Inter Press Service (IPS)

March 29, 2007


Added: June 2, 2009

Arizona, USA

[Undocumented migrants arrested] at multiple border crossings

It was a busy weekend for Border Patrol agents in Arizona.

At the Naco station, two child molesters were arrested. One was convicted in Washington, the other in New York. Both are Mexican nationals.

At the Tucson station, three illegal immigrants from China were caught.

Agents at the Wilcox station nabbed a child molester from Mexico.

And a Mexican national who was convicted of rape in Wisconsin was caught in Douglas.

A Salvadoran gang member wanted for murder in Las Vegas was caught in Ajo.

Jayme West

KTAR

June 01, 2009


Added: June 20, 2009

Mexico

Child Sex Tourism Growing in Border Cities Like Juárez, Report Says

Child sex tourism continues to grow in Mexican northern border cities like Tijuana and Juárez, according to a U.S. State Department report.

"Foreign child sex tourists arrive most often from the United States, Canada, and Western Europe," the report said.

People from Mexico also are trafficked into the United States for commercial sexual exploitation. Besides the northern border cities, the report said Cancun and Acapulco were popular child sex tourism destinations.

Each year, as many as 20,000 children are sexually exploited in these urban centers, officials said.

"Mexican men, women, and children (also) are trafficked into the United States for forced labor, particularly in agriculture and industrial sweatshops," the report said.

The U.S. federal government said corruption and lax enforcement were to blame for few human-trafficking prosecutions in Mexico.

The U.S. State Department released "The 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report" on Tuesday, and on Wednesday Mexican authorities announced the arrest of a Mexican federal immigration official assigned to Mexico City's airport on suspicion of human-trafficking.

Last week authorities in Costa Rica said they were investigating the trafficking of its citizens in Mexico.

Diana Washington Valdez

El Paso Times

June 18, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Mexico

"IMPUNITY" - Women victims of Police Assault at Atenco Protest at FEVIMTRA offices

"Women are not the Spoils of War!"

Exigen atenquenses a fiscalía agilizar juicios contra policías

Habitantes de San Salvador Atenco, particularmente 11 de las 26 mujeres que denunciaron haber sido víctimas de violencia sexual, física y sicológica por policías los días 3 y 4 de mayo de 2006 en ese municipio mexiquense, exigieron a la Fiscalía Especializada en Delitos Violentos cometidos contra Mujeres y Trata de Personas (Fevimtra) que ya consigne la averiguación previa que abrió y ejercite acción penal contra todos los uniformados que participaron en los acontecimientos, con el propósito de que sean sancionados por acción u omisión…

Women Victims of Sexual Violence at 2006 Atenco Protest March Demand That Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes Against Women Expedite Proceedings Against Accused Policemen

Inhabitants of [the Mexico City suburb of] San Salvador Atenco, including 11 of the 26 women who reported being physically, psychologically and sexually abused by [male] police officers on May 3rd and 4th of 2006, have demanded that the [federal] Special Prosecutor's Office for Violent Crimes Committed Against Women, and Trafficking in Persons (FEVIMTRA) act upon the results of their preliminary investigation in the case, and bring the actors to justice for their actions and acts of omission.

During a demonstration in front of the offices of FEVIMTRA in Mexico City, the activists indicated that, "the Mexican authorities have once again demonstrated their inefficiency in prosecuting and punishing those responsible for the serious violations human rights that were committed in San Salvador Atenco. They were referring specifically to the fact that just recently, the only police officer to have been tried, convicted and sentenced for the assaults against women at Atenco was pardoned...

Full English Translation

Gustavo Castillo

La Jornada

June 17, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina

Mexican Federal, State and Local Police Rape and Assault 26 Women Protesters in Atenco, Mexico - May 3/4, 2006


Added: June 19, 2009

Mexico

20000 Migrants a Year Kidnapped in Mexico En Route to US

Some 20,000 of the 140,000 illegal migrants en route to the United States via the Mexico border to find work and a better life are kidnapped each year and subjected to rape, torture and murder, crimes that usually go unpunished due to the corruption of the authorities, fear of reprisals and distrust of authorities, according to Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission.

Mexico City – More than 1,600 migrants, above all Central Americans en route to the United States to find work, are kidnapped monthly and subjected to humiliations that usually go unpunished due to the corruption of the authorities, Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission reported.

“The kidnapping of migrants has become a continuous practice of worrying dimensions, generally unpunished and with characteristics of extreme cruelty,” commission chairman Jose Luis Soberanes said Monday at the presentation of the report.

Between September 2008 and February 2009, the commission registered a total of 198 cases of mass kidnappings of migrants involving 9,758 people.

Motivated by the yearning to begin a new life in the United States, each year some 140,000 people cross Mexico’s southern border intending to traverse the country and then cross the U.S. border, according to official figures.

To achieve their dream, the migrants have to travel thousands of kilometers with hardly any money and trusting unknown people who promise to help them, but there exists a risk that they will be betrayed and wind up in the hands of people-trafficking networks.

Upon presenting its report on the kidnappings of migrants, the rights commission called attention to their “high vulnerability” and denounced the fact that the practice “is on the increase.”

The document prepared by the panel includes many shocking testimonials, like that of a Salvadoran woman who was locked up and raped numerous times during the 48 hours she was held.

Finally, the young woman was freed because her family, who lives in the United States, gave in to the threats of her abductors and paid part of the $4,500 they demanded as ransom.

“But my companion didn’t have anyone to help her and so they shot her and let her bleed to death in front of me to intimidate me,” the woman said...

The kidnappings are committed mainly by organized bands whose members remain unpunished for the crimes because their victims do not report them since they don’t know their rights, they are afraid of reprisals and don’t trust the Mexican authorities, which, according to the commission report, are complicit with the criminals in at least 1 percent of the cases.

Victims are usually kidnapped in groups along certain stretches of the railroad lines in southern Mexico, where migrants commonly hop on northbound freight trains.

The commission had to move Monday’s presentation of the report to a different office after receiving a bomb threat – which turned out to be false – at the original venue.

The threat, according to Soberanes, was a “message” from the “bands interested in having impunity continue” for their crimes.

EFE

June 17, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Guyana

Guyana will not prosecute people for trafficking in personss just to satisfy the US, says minister

Georgetown, Guyana - Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Priya Manickchand, has lashed out at the United States of America’s rating of Guyana for its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report by the US State Department which places Guyana on Tier 2 watch list.

“Guyana objects completely to being placed on the Tier 2 watch list...we do not believe that we have trafficking on the scale that should attract the attention of the US, the report is inaccurate in some of its assertions: it did not given us (government) credit for all that has been done,” she stated...

“We prosecute every person who can be prosecuted under the Act who would have committed acts of trafficking, what we do not have is a large number of convictions. We cannot dictate what the courts do, we do recognize that there are some weaknesses in the entire judicial system in terms of how long matters take to pass through the system and in that regard, the government is at present engaged in improving the entire justice system through the Justice Sector Reform Strategy,” she explained.

GINA / Caribbean Net News

June 18, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

United States

Human Trafficking Rises in Recession

This particularly gory testimony, used by the US State Department to highlight the severity and widespread nature of human trafficking, is one of many alarming personal accounts included in their 2009 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.

Time Magazine

June 18, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Jamaica

Jamaica cited for inadequate anti-human trafficking measures

Jamaica has again been ranked as a tier two country for human trafficking by the US State Department which has cited inadequate efforts to prosecute trafficking offenses and protect victims. In its ninth annual Trafficking in Persons Report released ...

RadioJamaica.com

June 18, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Costa Rica

Mejora en la lucha contra trata de personas

Costa Rica se supera en la lucha contra la trata de personas, según un informe del Departamento de Estado de los Estados Unidos.

Costa Rica has improved its standing in the 2009 U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report. (Translation to follow)

Telatica.com

June 17, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The United States

Alerta de que la -esclavitud moderna- está aumentando por la crisis

El Gobierno de EEUU amplió la lista de países con crecientes problemas de tráfico humano de 40 en 2008 a 52 este año, en que ha incluido a Nicaragua, Irak, Filipinas, Antillas Holandesas y los Emiratos Arabes Unidos.

U.S. Government: Modern slavery is increasing during the current economic crisis.

www.ABC.es

June 16, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Colombia

Autoridades desmantelan banda de trata de personas y detienen a 69 personas

En más de 60 allanamientos fueron detenidos 52 hombres y 17 mujeres de la red que solicitaba damas de entre 18 y 25 años de edad en avisos clasificados en los diarios y les ofrecía trabajo en bares y restaurantes y altos ingresos, para luego obligarlas a prostituirse.

Authorities in Colombia dismantle sex trafficking ring and free 69 women between the ages of 18 and 25. (Translation to follow)

http://web.presidencia.gov.co

June 16, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Canada

Penalties for sex trafficking in Canada lax - US report

Vancouver, British Columbia - A US report on human trafficking says Canada has the laws needed to prosecute human traffickers and sex tourists, but the penalties dished out by the courts are lax...

KBS Radio

June 16, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The Dominican Republic

Washington: people trafficking still occurs Dominican Republic

The State Department's annual report, first under president Barack Obama's Administration, extends the list of countries with increasing human trafficking problems, from 40 in 2008 to 52 this year, among them Nicaragua, Iraq, the Philippine ...

Dominican Today

June 16, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The Vatican

Pope Praises "Courageous Commitment" of Religious Against Human Trafficking

Pope Benedict has lauded the “courageous commitment in defense of human life” of religious sisters involved in helping victims of human trafficking. The Pope's praise was contained in a telegram sent Sister Louise Madore, President ...

Vatican Radio

June 15, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Latin America

Sub-Regional Operations Profile - Latin America

In Central America and Mexico, efforts to improve border security, guard against terrorism and counter human and drug trafficking have led to stricter controls on the movements of undocumented migrants. ...

UNHCR (press release)

June 15, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Utah, USA

Human trafficking underground in Utah communities

But even in Utah, human trafficking, one of the world's top three most profitable hidden industries, has reared its ugly head. Dewayne Hopkins, a 27-year-old Salt Lake City resident pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking ...

BYU Newsnet

June 15, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Georgia, USA

Sex-trafficking fight goes beyond streets

Teenage prostitutes, according to a mayor's report on child sex trafficking, had begun working within a few steps of the familiar inscription from Matthew on the church's wall: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you ...

Atlanta Journal Constitution

June 14, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Nevada, USA

March Calls For End To Child Sex Slavery

The group Shared Hope International partnered with Canyon Christian Church for the event, drawing attention to the disturbing crime of human trafficking. A candlelight vigil was also held after the march. ...

Fox5 KVVU

June 13, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Latin America

OAS Assistant Secretary General: “the Future of Inter-Americ ...

In terms of the challenges, Ramdin offered that “there are still pending bilateral tensions and outstanding disputes among member countries” and that many of the traditional issues such as drugs and arms trafficking, discrimination, food security ...

ISRIA

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The Vatican

Women religious organize conference to combat 'new form of slavery'

This morning at the Vatican's press office, organizers announced a forthcoming congress on the theme: “Female Religious in Network against Trafficking of Persons.” The congress will focus on fighting and preventing human trafficking...

Catholic News Agency

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The Vatican

Women's religious orders vow to extend anti-human trafficking programs

Vatican City – With the global financial crisis and the increased desperation of the poor, human trafficking appears to be on the increase and the International Union of Superiors General is committed to extending its networks to fight ...

Cindy Wooden

The Catholic Review

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

The Vatican

Religious Sisters Speak Out Against Human Trafficking

Religious sisters say they will not remain silent about the horrors of human trafficking. Here in Rome this week, the International Union of Superior Generals of women religious and the International organization for migration ...

Vatican Radio

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Mexico

Tlaxcala Diary

Fair Haven’s Father Jim Manship blogged his recent trip to Mexico. His second entry follows.

…Part of the presentation at the Center of Human Rights in Tlaxcala included a discussion of increased exploitation of women and girls — a very dangerous topic, as there is a large quantity of money associated with the sex trade. Exposing the sex trade has led to death threats against members of the Center of Human Rights. Influences of “machismo” in the culture, that is to say the domination of women by men, feed the tacit approval of this exploitation. Corruption has caused authorities to look the other way. Because the traffickers are not preying supposedly on local women and girls, there exists the attitude “It’s OK” because the victims are not from the area…

Traveling through a small town in Tlaxcala that is the notorious center for those involved in the trafficking of women and girls for the sex trade, one can see huge houses being erected in the middle of very humble neighborhoods. Such ostentatious expenditures signal those who are benefiting from the misery and enslavement of young women and girls. The traffickers and their families enjoy luxury cars and one purportedly has even begun purchasing buses to start a “legitimate” transportation company.

Those directly and indirectly involved in the trafficking of these women and girls have found it quite lucrative. The “dirty money” is plentiful. And I dare say, with the major disruption of the other source of “dirty money,” the Mexican drug trade, the exploitation of the immigrant women and girls, will sadly continue to increase.

New Haven Independent

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Mexico

Trafficking law aims to protect Mexican minors

...More than 8,000 children... come to the United States alone each year; many are seeking safe haven from human rights abuses, domestic violence and trafficking. When they are caught, they are put in immigration proceedings to decide whether they can stay or must return home. More than half of these children, some of whom are remarkably young, must face these proceedings without the help of a lawyer or guardian. The U.S. government does not provide people in immigration proceedings — even children — with a lawyer, even though the government is represented by a lawyer. Children who have viable claims are often not able to present them and are sent home, where their well-being, even their lives, may be in danger...

The good news is that more vulnerable children will have access to free lawyers and other basic protections thanks to the passage of a law that for the first time requires that children’s well-being be considered foremost by officials who pick them up entering the United States. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 says that when children come here without documents and without a parent or legal guardian, officials are to act according to the best interests of the child — and not according to an archaic and outdated system that was never designed to handle children.

The law requires the government to facilitate the representation of children by pro bono attorneys in the private sector. This opens the door to innovative public/private partnerships at no cost to the government that will make a real difference in these children’s lives.

Now the law needs to be fully implemented and the government needs to do its part. It must institute procedures that give children a fair opportunity to share their experiences of abuse and trauma. Judges and lawyers must be trained so that they don’t inadvertently cause children more trauma. Imagine being a young teenager and having to tell lawyers and a judge who you have never met your story of being sold to traffickers...

Nogales International

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Canada

World Vision targets child trafficking

The World Vision report urges greater recognition and criminalization of all human trafficking activities, many of which it says are tolerated by communities, overlooked by authorities and even sanctioned by families...

Mississauga

June 12, 2009


Added: June 19, 2009

Costa Rica - Mexico

Rosa María Casanova Maya, using the Alias "Rosi", was detained by Mexican officials for heading the human trafficking ring and pimping.

Ticas Say They Were Duped Into Traveling To Mexico Then Forced ...

Following up on the actions of Mexican authorities, Costa Rican authorities quickly moved to open an investigation into an alleged human trafficking ring that young Costa Rican women duped into traveling to Mexico, in the hopes of earning big money ...

Inside Costa Rica

June 12, 2009


Added: June 18, 2009

United States

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's press conference presenting the 2009 Trafficking in Persons report

Cuban-American Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen speaks at 2009 TIP report release press conference

US State Department releases its 2009 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "Today, the State Department releases our annual report on trafficking in persons. It underscores the need to address the root causes of trafficking, including poverty, lax law enforcement, and the exploitation of women. The Trafficking Report is not an indictment of past failures, but a guide for future progress. ...With this report, we hope to shine the light brightly on the scope and scale of modern slavery so all governments can see where progress has been made and where more is needed..."

Video of Secretary Clinton's press conference presenting the 2009 TIP report

Full transcript of pre